Cover: The Proof: Uses of Evidence in Law, Politics, and Everything Else, from Harvard University PressCover: The Proof in HARDCOVER

The Proof

Uses of Evidence in Law, Politics, and Everything Else

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674251373

Publication Date: 05/31/2022

Academic Trade

320 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


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Schauer displays a level of intellectual honesty one rarely encounters these days… This is delightful stuff, all the more so coming from an author whose political sympathies clearly lie far from the Trump family. Chapters on the state of criminology and the nature of lying are similarly engaging.—Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal

[Schauer’s] essential argument is that in assessing evidence, we need, first of all, to recognize that evidence comes in degrees (from weak to strong, from extraneous to relevant) and that probability, the likelihood that the evidence or testimony is accurate, matters… [He] has fascinating things to say about the reliability of eyewitnesses, hearsay and lie detectors, the efficacy of honor codes and courtroom oath taking, and the trustworthiness of letters of recommendation.—Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Education

I would make Proof one of a handful of books that all incoming law students should read… Essential and timely.—Emily R. D. Murphy, Law and Society Review

At a time when the concept of truth itself is in trouble, this lively and accessible account provides vivid and deep analysis of the practices addressing what is reliably true in law, science, history, and ordinary life. Schauer’s The Proof integrates knowledge of legal doctrine, social science studies, philosophy, and history and offers both timely and enduring insights.—Martha Minow, former Dean of Harvard Law School and author of When Should Law Forgive?

The Proof is an engaging tour of a range of knotty problems relating to evidence and reasoned inference. Fred Schauer shares a wealth of insights he has developed over several decades of teaching and writing about evidence law and the nature of proof. A pleasure to read.—David Alan Sklansky, author of A Pattern of Violence

A thoroughly enjoyable and accessible book on how the insights of evidence law can help all of us make better decisions in our everyday lives. A much-needed guide in a confusing world awash in information and misinformation. The Proof is sure to become a classic!—Edward K. Cheng, Vanderbilt Law School

With his uncanny ability to blend erudition and accessibility, Fred Schauer unpacks how to think about proof—what people tell us, what we see, what the experts say—in everyday life. An extraordinarily readable book with breathtaking range and clarity, The Proof is an indispensable guide for those who seek to thoughtfully navigate the world. I cannot recommend it highly enough.—Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

If you care about evidence, the search for the truth, about what we know and how we know it, you have a lot to learn from this timely and masterful book.—Lee C. Bollinger, President and Seth Low Professor of the University, Columbia University

Assessing evidence: that is the essence of judgment. Schauer’s The Proof imparts the disturbing lesson that we, be we individuals or organizations, are poor judges. Fortunately, this book wields tools from law, psychology, and statistics, plus an array of historic examples and contemporary accounts, to show how we can dramatically improve as assessors. Even better, it does so with wit.—Richard Zeckhauser, Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University

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