In a leading ruling on the standard of proof, the Federal Court of Justice stated in 1970 that judges must be convinced to a “degree of certainty” that need not quite be “beyond all reasonable doubt” but should go beyond a mere “probability bordering on certainty.” The former is not required by the law of evidence; the latter is not sufficient (Ruling of the Federal Court of Justice in Civil Cases [BGHZ] 53, 245 ff.). From an epistemological point of view, clarification is needed as to whether a doxastic approach fits into this narrow construct. The BGH ruling refers to “conviction”, the “truth of an assertion”, and the required “degree of certainty”, but it does not address the concept of knowledge
, in which these elements converge and are related to each other. In epistemology, it is disputed whether or not human fallibility
, which is irrevocable, can be reconciled with the assumption that humans are capable of acquiring knowledge. The lecture outlines the tenets of a fallibilistic concept of knowledge and compares the challenge of determining a sufficient level for the standard of evidence to the epistemological challenge of reconciling “to err is human” with the claim to knowledge.