When We Hold No Truths to be Self-Evident: Truth, Belief, Trust, and the Decline in Trials
Lisa Blomgren Bingham
Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)
Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 2006, p. 131, 2006
Indiana University-Bloomington: School of Public & Environmental Affairs Research Paper Series No. 2011-05-10
This article explores the relationship between the "vanishing trial" and the changing ways in which we think about truth. First, it briefly overviews how we think about knowing what is true: epistemology and the history of philosophy. Second, it looks to the philosophy of science and history of social science for new theories and methods about how we ascertain and construct meaning and what we believe to be real and true. Third, it examines our changing relation to information in the face of the "information explosion": information is the evidence upon which we reach a conclusion about what is true. Fourth, it relates these changes to the philosophy of law and theories of the jury and adversary system. Fifth, it examines what social science has taught us about truth, belief, trust, justice, and control over information. Finally, it addresses how these changes may explain why litigants are using mediation, arbitration, and other forms of appropriate dispute resolution in lieu of the adversarial civil trial. People are choosing to exercise control over what information is used in disputing and over who is using it for what purposes. This takes them away from the civil trial, a formalistic process with strict rules about who can be a witness, what they can say on the stand, what information is admitted as relevant and material to a decision, and what standards the decision-maker must use to evaluate that information. If complexity in the modern world has taught us anything, it is that we no longer hold much to be self-evident.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: vanishing trial, dispute resolution, mediation, jurisprudence
JEL Classification: D63, D74, K41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 16, 2011
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