A Match Made on Earth: Getting Real About Science and the Law

19 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013

See all articles by Susan Haack

Susan Haack

University of Miami - School of Law; University of Miami - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: October 9, 2013


Modern legal systems increasingly depend on scientific testimony; but they also need somehow to ensure, so far as possible, that fact-finders aren't misled by highly speculative, poorly-conducted, or dishonestly-presented science. The Critical Common-sensist understanding of science that the author has developed in Defending Science and elsewhere sheds some light on why these interactions between law and science have proven so problematic. But Ms. Acharya's approach to these difficult issues rests on a flawed conception of the supposed "scientific method," and an idea of legal "legitimacy" too weak to bear the weight she places on it; and her claim that the author "idealizes" science is based on serious misunderstandings.

Les systemes judiciaires modernes s'en remettent de plus en plus aux temoignages de scientifiques; cependant, its doivent également s'assurer, dans Ia mesure du possible, que les juges de faits ne sont pas induits en erreur par des donnees scientifiques hautement spéculatives, obtenues a l'aide de methodes incorrectes ou presentees de façon pernicieuse. La description critique de Ia science, fondee sur le gros bon sens, elaboree par !'auteur dans l'article intitule " Defending Science " (A Ia defense de Ia science) explique jusqu'a uncertain point pourquoi Jes interactions entre le droit et Ia science sont si problematiques. Par contre, Ia façon qu'a Mme Acharya d'aborder ces problemes complexes repose sur une conception erronee de Ia pretendue '' methode scientifique " et sur une idee de Ia '' legitimite legale " trop faible pour supporter le poids qu'elle lui impose. En outre, sa pretention que l'auteure idealise Ia science repose sur de graves malentendus.

Suggested Citation

Haack, Susan, A Match Made on Earth: Getting Real About Science and the Law (October 9, 2013). University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338103 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2338103

Susan Haack (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States
305-284-3541 (Phone)
305-284-6506 (Fax)

University of Miami - Department of Philosophy ( email )

P.O. Box 248054
Coral Gables, FL 33124-4670
United States

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