The Field of Evidence and the Field of Knowledge

69 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2005

See all articles by Michael S. Pardo

Michael S. Pardo

University of Alabama School of Law


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

Suggested Citation

Pardo, Michael S., The Field of Evidence and the Field of Knowledge. Law and Philosophy, Vol. 24, July 2005. Available at SSRN:

Michael S. Pardo (Contact Author)

University of Alabama School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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