Law and Science as Forms of Inquiry: Toward a Comparison of Legal and Scientific Knowledge
Frederic R. Kellogg
George Washington University
November 19, 2009
This paper seeks to compare two separate schools of thought on the nature of knowledge as social inquiry. One is pragmatic fallibilism, associated with Charles S. Peirce and the early American pragmatists, with which I associate the legal philosophy of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. The other is an approach to the sociology of scientific knowledge called finitism, associated with the Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh, known for the ‘strong program’ characterizing the ‘Edinburgh School’ of science studies. Both legal and scientific knowledge might be viewed as forms of community inquiry, focusing on the primacy of cases and exemplars in the process of intersubjective classification, and on the dual role of concepts in both guiding the conduct of professional inquirers and framing and maintaining the coherence and consistency of both expert and general belief.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: philosophy of science, philosophy of law, jurisprudence, sociology of knowledge, pragmatism, fallibilism, finitism, Bloor, Durkheim, Feyerabend, Haack, Hesse, Holmes, Kuhn, Lakatos, Laudan, Peirceworking papers series
Date posted: November 21, 2009
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