David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Episteme 5 (3):pp. 343-358 (2008)
This paper argues that judges assessing the scientific validity and the legal admissibility of forensic science techniques ought to privilege testing over explanation. Their evaluation of reliability should be more concerned with whether the technique has been adequately validated by appropriate empirical testing than with whether the expert can offer an adequate description of the methods she uses, or satisfactorily explain her methodology or the theory from which her claims derive. This paper explores these issues within two specific contexts: latent fingerprint examination and the use of breath tests for the detection of alcohol. Especially in the forensic science arena, I suggest courts have often been seduced by superficially plausible explanations and descriptions of a technique or method, and permitted these to serve as a substitute for empirical testing. Thinking through these two examples illustrates both why evaluating the extent of testing should be the most important method by which courts assess reliability, and why, when other forms of explanatory evidence are readily available, we may nonetheless elect to make use of them. This paper suggests that these descriptions and explanations may at times usefully supplement evidence of testing, but should not generally be substituted for it. Finally, this paper embraces a kind of evidentiary pragmatism, in which the quantum of evidence required to establish legal reliability is determined not in the abstract, but in relation to the evidence that is, or ought to be, available as a result of reasonable research and investigation
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
David L. Hull (1998). Studying the Study of Science Scientifically. Perspectives on Science 6 (3):209-231.
Taylor F. Brinkman, Reconsidering the Role of Judicial Notice in Establishing the Reliability of Forensic Science Evidence.
Simon A. Cole, Toward Evidence-Based Evidence: Supporting Forensic Knowledge Claims in the Post-Daubert Era.
Alan W. Richardson (1992). Philosophy of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions: Remarks on the VPI Program for Testing Philosophies of Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:36 - 46.
Eline Bunnik, Maartje Schermer & A. Cecile Janssens (2011). Personal Genome Testing: Test Characteristics to Clarify the Discourse on Ethical, Legal and Societal Issues. [REVIEW] BMC Medical Ethics 12 (1):11-.
James T. Cushing (1989). The Justification and Selection of Scientific Theories. Synthese 78 (1):1 - 24.
Jeffrey W. Lucas (2003). Theory-Testing, Generalization, and the Problem of External Validity. Sociological Theory 21 (3):236-253.
William Bechtel (1990). Scientific Evidence: Creating and Evaluating Experimental Instruments and Research Techniques. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:559 - 572.
Kent W. Staley (2004). Robust Evidence and Secure Evidence Claims. Philosophy of Science 71 (4):467-488.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #100,344 of 1,789,836 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #166,717 of 1,789,836 )
How can I increase my downloads?