INSTITUTO DE INVESTIGACIONES EN HUMANIDADES Y CIENCIAS SOCIALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Certainty, laws and facts in Francis Bacon's jurisprudence
Intellectual History Review
Routledge -Taylor and Francis
Año: 2014 vol. 24 p. 457 - 457
Certainty is a category implicated at least in two momentous issues of early-modern jurisprudence: 1) the certainty of law (legal certainty) concerning the clear meaning and the interpretation of laws; 2) the certainty of facts (factual certainty) respecting to the establishing of legal facts. An historical study of early-modern legal certainty, therefore, should focus on laws as well as on facts. Although Francis Bacon was conversant with these two dimensions of legal certainty, dealt often with them and was deeply involved with problems arisen from them, he never defined nor described the kind of certainty typical of laws and facts. His elusive notions of certainty have to be traced through his large legal theoretical corpus and his multiple interventions in legal cases. The aim of this paper is to find out the notions of certainty assumed in Bacon´s jurisprudence. Accordingly, the first part of the paper deals with the concept of legal certainty entailed in Bacon´s law reform project, and exhibits how he put his attempts to make law certain into practice. The second part of the paper provides a survey of Bacon´s perspectives on the certainty about facts and looks for their vestiges in his practices as a law officer. In doing so, I try to answer the following questions: Are laws and facts thought to be "certain" in the same sense? What are the practices underlying the notions of certainty assumed by Bacon?