Epistemic Trepassing and Expert Witness Testimony

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (2) (2022)
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Epistemic trespassers have competence in one field but pass judgment on matters in other fields where they lack competence. I examine philosophical questions related to epistemic trespassing by expert witnesses in courtroom trials and argue for the following positions. Expert witnesses are required to avoid epistemic trespassing. When testifying as an expert witness, merely qualifying one’s statements to indicate that one is not speaking as an expert is insufficient to avoid epistemic trespassing. Judges, litigators, and jurors can often recognize epistemic trespassing by examining a purported expert’s credentials and track record. Judges should not permit recognizable epistemic trespassers to testify as expert witnesses. Litigators should seek to expose recognizable epistemic trespassers during cross-examination. Jurors should treat recognizable instances of epistemic trespassing as a reason to downgrade the testimony of epistemic trespassers.



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Mark Satta
Wayne State University

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References found in this work

Epistemic Trespassing.Nathan Ballantyne - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):367-395.
Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust?Alvin I. Goldman - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):85-110.
Expert Trespassing Testimony and the Ethics of Science Communication.Mikkel Gerken - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):299-318.

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