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Evidence Matters
Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law


Part of Law in Context

  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107698345

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About the Authors
  • Is truth in the law just plain truth - or something sui generis? Is a trial a search for truth? Do adversarial procedures and exclusionary rules of evidence enable, or impede, the accurate determination of factual issues? Can degrees of proof be identified with mathematical probabilities? What role can statistical evidence properly play? How can courts best handle the scientific testimony on which cases sometimes turn? How are they to distinguish reliable scientific testimony from unreliable hokum? These interdisciplinary essays explore such questions about science, proof, and truth in the law. With her characteristic clarity and verve, Haack brings her original and distinctive work in theory of knowledge and philosophy of science to bear on real-life legal issues. She includes detailed analyses of a wide variety of cases and lucid summaries of relevant scientific work, of the many roles of the scientific peer-review system, and of relevant legal developments.

    • Features original work by a renowned philosopher that applies to real-life evidentiary issues in the law
    • Presents a distinctive philosophical approach informed by the classical pragmatist tradition
    • Offers a stringent critique of legal probabilism, and specifically of subjective-Bayesian conceptions of legal proof
    • Offers a detailed discussion of a wide range of cases illustrating important ideas as well as an understanding of proof of causation and the role of statistical evidence
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'There is tremendous confusion in both law and science (including especially epidemiology) about the proper role of scientific evidence and interpretation of standards of proof in the law. No one has come close to the insight and understanding that should be crystal clear to anyone who reads this perfectly organized collection of essays. Haack alone delves into the historical development of the current confusion and brings her deep understanding of law and philosophy to mark the way out of the confusion. I hope that a copy will be sent to every justice on the US Supreme Court.' Richard W. Wright, Distinguished Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent, College of Law

    'Evidence Matters is an exciting collection of insightful essays from a respected authority that will receive attention from both philosophers and legal scholars.' Carl F. Cranor, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Riverside

    '… this is a consistently perceptive and erudite volume. Anyone who wishes to be well-informed on matters such as the adversarial system and its relationship to the question for truth, on what 'truth' means to lawyers versus what it means to scientists or philosophers, or on whether the law ought even to concern itself with the task of demarcating science from other sorts of inquiry, should read this book and take account of its arguments.' Christopher C. Faille, The Federal Lawyer

    'Evidence Matters combines and updates essays, chapters, and books previously written, published and presented at numerous workshops, symposia, colloquia, and lectures, including mathematical faculties, medical, and law schools. … A copy of this book would be an excellent addition to the reading collection of every justice, judge, and lawyer. Its relevance and insights have application wherever investigation desires to justify belief.' Rafael Silva, The Champion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107698345
    • length: 446 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Epistemology and the law of evidence: problems and projects
    2. Epistemology legalized: or, truth, justice, and the American way
    3. Legal probabilism: an epistemological dissent
    4. Irreconcilable differences? The troubled marriage of science and law
    5. Trial and error: two confusions in Daubert
    6. Federal philosophy of science: a deconstruction - and a reconstruction
    7. Peer review and publication: lessons for lawyers
    8. What's wrong with litigation-driven science?
    9. Proving causation: the weight of combined evidence
    10. Correlation and causation: the 'Bradford Hill Criteria' in epidemiological, legal, and epistemological perspective
    11. Risky business: statistical proof of specific causation
    12. Nothing fancy: some simple truths about truth in the law.

  • Author

    Susan Haack, University of Miami
    Susan Haack is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at the University of Miami. She is the author of numerous highly acclaimed books, among them Evidence and Inquiry and Defending Science, Within Reason, and of many articles in legal, philosophical, and scientific journals. Haack is one of a tiny number of living philosophers included in Peter J. King, 100 Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World's Greatest Thinkers (2004); and she appeared on The Independent on Sunday's list of the ten most important women philosophers of all time (2005).

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