Faculty Notes

Prof. Vern Walker Presents at QJ 2012 Conference in Lisbon

Vern R. Walker, Professor of Law and Director of the Research Laboratory for Law, Logic and Technology

Vern Walker presented a paper at the the Third International Conference on Quantitative Justice and Fairness, held at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon on 22-24 May 2012.  The paper was entitled “A Process Approach to Inferences of Causation: Empirical Research from Vaccine Cases in the United States,” and it was co-authored by the following student researchers in the Research Laboratory for Law, Logic and Technology:  Chan Hee Park, Philip H. Hwang, Arthur John, Evgeny I. Krasnov and Keith Langlais.

In law, inferences of causation are made through a structured process in whichmultiple participants play various roles, and make decisions concerning various logical constituents of the overall inference (such as legal rules, policy objectives, presumptions, evidence, and findings of fact). This paper illustrates such a process using empirical research into compensation decisions in the United States for injuries allegedly caused by vaccinations. Empirical research into actual legal processes is essential, in order to discover howvarious players approach their sub-tasks of decision making. It also provides insights for areas outside of law, such as nonmonotonic logic, cognitive science, sociology and artificial intelligence.