ABSTRACT

This collection is the first book-length examination of the various epistemological issues underlying legal trials. Trials are centrally concerned with determining truth: whether a criminal defendant has in fact culpably committed the act of which they are accused, or whether a civil defendant is in fact responsible for the damages alleged by the plaintiff.

Truth is not, however, the only epistemic value which seems relevant to how trials proceed. We may think that a jury shouldn’t convict a defendant, even one who is as a matter of fact guilty, unless its members know or at least are justified in believing that the defendant committed the crime in question. Similarly, we might reasonably assume that the trier of fact must have some level of understanding to reach an adequate verdict in any case, but legitimate questions arise as to what level of understanding should be required.

The essays collected in this volume consider a range of epistemological issues raised by trials, such as how much credence jurors should give to eyewitness testimony, the admissibility and role of statistical evidence, and the appropriate standards of proof in different contexts.

The Social Epistemology of Legal Trials will be of interest to scholars and upper-level students working on issues at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of law.

chapter |8 pages

The Social Epistemology of Legal Trials

ByZachary Hoskins, Jon Robson

chapter 1|21 pages

Credibility Deficits, Memory Errors and the Criminal Trial

ByKathy Puddifoot

chapter 2|16 pages

Eyewitness Testimony, the Misinformation Effect and Reasonable Doubt

ByChristopher Bennett

chapter 3|14 pages

On Testifying and Giving Evidence

ByStephen Wright

chapter 5|15 pages

Character, ‘Propensities’, and the (Mis)use of Statistics in Criminal Trials 1

ByR. A. Duff, S. E. Marshall

chapter 6|14 pages

Against Legal Probabilism 1

ByMartin Smith

chapter 7|18 pages

Justified Belief and Just Conviction

ByClayton Littlejohn

chapter 8|20 pages

The ‘She Said, He Said’ Paradox and the Proof Paradox 1

ByGeorgi Gardiner

chapter 9|16 pages

Against the Odds: The Case for a Modal Understanding of Due Care

ByJeffrey Helmreich, Duncan Pritchard

chapter 10|14 pages

Criminal Trials for Preventive Deprivations of Liberty 1

ByHadassa Noorda