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Of truth, in science and in law

In 1966, the United States Supreme Court averred that “the basic purpose of a trial is the determination of truth.” In 1993, in the landmark ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., that set new standards for the admissibility of expert scientific testimony, Justice Blackmun was a bit more cautious, writing that “there are important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory.” In my view, however, a trial—even a trial at which the main issue is a matter of fact, such as whether it was the defendant or someone else who pulled the trigger, or whether it was the drug in question or something else that caused the injury—isn’t exactly a “search for truth.” Rather, a trial is better described as a late stage of a whole process of determining a defendant’s guilt or liability: the stage at which, under the legal guidance of the court, advocates for each side present evidence in the light most favorable to their case, and the finder of fact sifts through it and assesses whether it establishes guilt or liability to the required degree of proof

Universitat de Girona. Departament de Dret Privat

Author: Haack, Susan
Date: 2010 March 19
Abstract: In 1966, the United States Supreme Court averred that “the basic purpose of a trial is the determination of truth.” In 1993, in the landmark ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., that set new standards for the admissibility of expert scientific testimony, Justice Blackmun was a bit more cautious, writing that “there are important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory.” In my view, however, a trial—even a trial at which the main issue is a matter of fact, such as whether it was the defendant or someone else who pulled the trigger, or whether it was the drug in question or something else that caused the injury—isn’t exactly a “search for truth.” Rather, a trial is better described as a late stage of a whole process of determining a defendant’s guilt or liability: the stage at which, under the legal guidance of the court, advocates for each side present evidence in the light most favorable to their case, and the finder of fact sifts through it and assesses whether it establishes guilt or liability to the required degree of proof
Format: audio/mpeg
video/H263
Citation: Haack, S. (2010). Of truth, in science and in law. A Grup de recerca en Filosofia del Dret. Girona: Universitat. [Consulta 26 abril 2010]. Disponible a: http://hdl.handle.net/10256.1/1579
Document access: http://hdl.handle.net/10256.1/1579
Language: eng
Publisher: Universitat de Girona. Departament de Dret Privat
Collection: Grup de recerca en Filosofia del Dret
Rights: Aquest document està subjecte a una llicència Creative Commons: Reconeixement - No comercial - Compartir igual (by-nc-sa)
Rights URI: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/es/deed.ca
Subject: Veritat -- Congressos
Truth -- Congresses
Dret -- Filosofia -- Congressos
Law -- Philosophy -- Congresses
Title: Of truth, in science and in law
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/lecture
Repository: DUGiMedia

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