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Epistemology Legalized: Or, Truth, Justice, and the American Way

American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 49, pp. 43-61, 2004

39 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2005 Last revised: 29 Jul 2008

Susan Haack

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

Abstract

Jeremy Bentham's powerful metaphor of Injustice, and her handmaid Falsehood reminds us, if we need reminding, that justice requires not only just laws, and just administration of those laws, but also factual truth - objective factual truth; and that in consequence the very possibility of a just legal system requires that there be objective indications of truth, i.e., objective standards of better or worse evidence...

My plan [in this Olin Lecture in Jurisprudence, presented at Notre Dame law School, in October 2004] is to sketch some epistemological themes of mine, and explore their bearing on two familiar, radical epistemological criticisms of our legal system: (i) that an adversarial system is an epistemologically poor way of determining the truth; and (ii) that exclusionary rules of evidence are epistemologically undesirable. Neither criticism, I shall argue, is decisive; both, however, throw harsh light on disturbing aspects of the way our adversarial system actually functions.

Keywords: Evidence, epistemology, adversarial system, inadmissibility, exclusionary rules

Suggested Citation

Haack, Susan, Epistemology Legalized: Or, Truth, Justice, and the American Way. American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 49, pp. 43-61, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=682642

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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