May 11, 2015

The Treatment of the Law of Evidence in Legal and Political Contexts

Ronald J. Allen, Northwestern University Law School, is publishing A Note to My Philosophical Friends About Expertise and Legal Systems in Humana-Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
This brief essay explores how understanding the treatment of expert evidence requires engaging with its legal and political contexts, and not just focusing on its epistemological aspects. Although the law of evidence and thus its treatment of experts is significantly informed by epistemological considerations, it is also informed by concerns over the organization of trials, larger issues of intelligent governance, social concerns, and enforcement issues. These five aspects to the law of evidence give rise to principles to guide the explicit structuring of the law of evidence that are identified here as well. This complexity helps to explain why the central issue of expert testimony is not the epistemological one of knowledge and belief but instead the conflict between educational and deferential modes of trial.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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