The Field of Evidence and the Field of Knowledge
69 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2005
The trial is fundamentally an epistemological event. We want jurors and judges to know. And we want to know that they know. And we also want to know the conditions when they know, and when, if at all, these conditions obtain. In this article I explore the relationship between epistemological theory and evidence law. Despite recent denials of the relevance of such theory, I show its relevance and importance by demonstrating how current conceptual issues in epistemology intersect with, explain, and clarify conceptual issues in the law of evidence.
Part I provides general background on the field of knowledge. Next, Part II discusses in depth recent philosophical work of Laurence BonJour, Alvin Goldman, and Robert Brandom. Finally, Part III applies insights from the first two parts to illuminate the law's epistemology with regard to factual decisionmaking, the nature of probative value, and a puzzle regarding the review of First Amendment facts.
Keywords: Evidence, Proof, Knowledge
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