David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (2):243-263 (2002)
This essay argues that techniques for assessing testimonial credibility were well established in English legal contexts before they appeared in English natural philosophy. ‘Matters of fact’ supported by testimony referred to human actions and events before the concept was applied to natural phenomena. The article surveys English legal views about testimony and argues that the criteria for credible testimony in both legal and scientific venues were not limited to those of gentle status. Natural philosophers became concerned with testimony when they shifted their attention from universal statements about nature to particular natural and experimental events. Testimony thus became important in the construction of natural and experimental histories constructed by English naturalists. The shift to a more Baconian approach to natural investigation, itself shaped in part by legal concepts and practice, made it possible for members of the Royal Society to adopt an already familiar and societally approved approach to testimony. However, the essay also suggests how the use of scientific instruments and the desire to avoid the adversarial processes of the law modified legal conditions for fact determination, and made it possible for later generations to associate the concept of fact, supported by credible testimony, with the natural rather than the human sciences.Author Keywords: Natural history; Natural philosophy; Testimony; Credibility; Science and law
|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
John Locke (2007). Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub. Ltd.
Francis Bacon & J. R. Milton (1996). Novum Organum. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):125-128.
P. Lipton (1998). The Epistemology of Testimony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (1):1-31.
Lorraine Daston (1991). Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe. Critical Inquiry 18 (1):93-124.
R. W. Serjeantson (1999). Testimony and Proof in Early-Modern England. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (2):195-236.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael Lynch (2013). Science, Truth, and Forensic Cultures: The Exceptional Legal Status of DNA Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (1):60-70.
Nicholas Jardine & Marina Frasca-Spada (2015). The Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Testimony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:95-100.
Silvia Manzo (2014). Certainty, Laws and Facts in Francis Bacon’s Jurisprudence. Intellectual History Review 24 (4):457-478.
Silvia Manzo (2014). Certainty, Laws and Facts in Francis Bacon's Jurisprudence. Intellectual History Review 24 (4):457-478.
Similar books and articles
Peter Anstey & Alberto Vanzo (2012). The Origins of Early Modern Experimental Philosophy. Intellectual History Review 22 (4):499-518.
Antonia LoLordo (2007). Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Frederick C. Beiser (1996). The Sovereignty of Reason: The Defense of Rationality in the Early English Enlightenment. Princeton University Press.
Tony Ward (2006). English Law's Epistemology of Expert Testimony. Journal of Law and Society 33 (4):572-595.
Samuel Leslie Bethell (1951). The Cultural Revolution of the Seventeenth Century. London, D. Dobson.
Angus Fletcher (2011). Evolving Hamlet: Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy and the Ethics of Natural Selection. Palgrave Macmillan.
Deborah Baumgold (2005). Hobbes's and Locke's Contract Theories: Political Not Metaphysical. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8 (3):289-308.
Geoffrey Gorham (2009). God and the Natural World in the Seventeenth Century: Space, Time, and Causality. Philosophy Compass 4 (5):859-872.
Michael Witmore (2001). Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England. Stanford University Press.
John Dunn (2003). Locke: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2010-09-02
Total downloads16 ( #191,521 of 1,781,419 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #207,207 of 1,781,419 )
How can I increase my downloads?