Truth, Error, and Criminal Law

An Essay in Legal Epistemology

Author: Larry Laudan

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 113945708X

Category: Philosophy

Page: N.A

View: 7011

Beginning with the premise that the principal function of a criminal trial is to find out the truth about a crime, Larry Laudan examines the rules of evidence and procedure that would be appropriate if the discovery of the truth were, as higher courts routinely claim, the overriding aim of the criminal justice system. Laudan mounts a systematic critique of existing rules and procedures that are obstacles to that quest. He also examines issues of error distribution by offering the first integrated analysis of the various mechanisms - the standard of proof, the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof - for implementing society's view about the relative importance of the errors that can occur in a trial.
Posted in Philosophy

The Law's Flaws

Rethinking Trials and Errors?

Author: Larry Laudan

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781848901995

Category: Law

Page: 228

View: 6058

This is a book about the law's failure as a system of empirical inquiry. While the US Supreme Court repeatedly says that the aim of a trial is to find out the truth about a crime, there is abundant evidence that many of the rules of evidence and legal procedure are not truth-conducive. Quite the contrary; many are truth-thwarting. Relevant evidence of defendant's guilt is often excluded; reasonable inferences from the available evidence are likewise often excluded. When a defendant elects not to testify, jurors are told to draw no inculpatory inferences from the former's refusal to be questioned. If evidence of prior crimes committed by the defendant is admitted (and often it is excluded), jurors are strictly told to use them only for deciding whether the defendant lied during his testimony and not as evidence of his guilt. Making matters worse, the most important evidence rule of all (saying that defendant can be convicted only if there are no reasonable doubts about his guilt) is monumentally vague; and judges are under firm instruction to decline jurors' frequent requests to explain what a 'reasonable doubt' is. Lastly, this book examines the fact that American courts collect little information about how often they convict the innocent and no information about how often they acquit the guilty. This is tragic because ignorance of the error rates in trials and in plea bargains means that citizens have no grounds for confidence in the judicial system; such a condition of non-transparency should be unacceptable in a democracy. Reform is urgent and this book sketches some of the necessary changes.
Posted in Law

Basic Concepts of Criminal Law

Author: George P. Fletcher

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190623489

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 5562

In the United States today criminal justice can vary from state to state, as various states alter the Modern Penal Code to suit their own local preferences and concerns. In Eastern Europe, the post-Communist countries are quickly adopting new criminal codes to reflect their specific national concerns as they gain autonomy from what was once a centralized Soviet policy. As commonalities among countries and states disintegrate, how are we to view the basic concepts of criminal law as a whole? Eminent legal scholar George Fletcher acknowledges that criminal law is becoming increasingly localized, with every country and state adopting their own conception of punishable behavior, determining their own definitions of offenses. Yet by taking a step back from the details and linguistic variations of the criminal codes, Fletcher is able to perceive an underlying unity among diverse systems of criminal justice. Challenging common assumptions, he discovers a unity that emerges not on the surface of statutory rules and case law but in the underlying debates that inform them. Basic Concepts of Criminal Law identifies a set of twelve distinctions that shape and guide the controversies that inevitably break out in every system of criminal justice. Devoting a chapter to each of these twelve concepts, Fletcher maps out what he considers to be the deep structure of all systems of criminal law. Understanding these distinctions will not only enable students to appreciate the universal fundamental ideas of criminal law, but will enable them to understand the significance of local details and variations. This accessible illustration of the unity of diverse systems of criminal justice will provoke and inform students and scholars of law and the philosophy of law, as well as lawyers seeking a better understanding of the law they practice.
Posted in Social Science

Reliabilism and Contemporary Epistemology

Essays

Author: Alvin I. Goldman

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 019981287X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 9015

This is the most up-to-date collection of essays by the leading proponent of process reliabilism, refining and clarifying that theory and critiquing its rivals. The volume features important essays on the internalism/externalism debate, epistemic value, the intuitional methodology of philosophy, and social epistemology.
Posted in Philosophy

Law, Virtue and Justice

Author: Amalia Amaya,Hock Lai Ho

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1782250328

Category: Law

Page: 336

View: 8380

This book explores the relevance of virtue theory to law from a variety of perspectives. The concept of virtue is central in both contemporary ethics and epistemology. In contrast, in law, there has not been a comparable trend toward explaining normativity on the model of virtue theory. In the last few years, however, there has been an increasing interest in virtue theory among legal scholars. 'Virtue jurisprudence' has emerged as a serious candidate for a theory of law and adjudication. Advocates of virtue jurisprudence put primary emphasis on aretaic concepts rather than on duties or consequences. Aretaic concepts are, on this view, crucial for explaining law and adjudication. This book is a collection of essays examining the role of virtue in general jurisprudence as well as in specific areas of the law. Part I puts together a number of papers discussing various philosophical aspects of an approach to law and adjudication based on the virtues. Part II discusses the relationship between law, virtue and character development, with some of the essays selected analysing this relationship by combining both eastern perspectives on virtue and character with western approaches. Parts III and IV examine problems of substantive areas of law, more specifically, criminal law and evidence law, from within a virtue-based framework. Last, Part V discusses the relevance of empathy to our understanding of justice and legal morality.
Posted in Law

Evidence Matters

Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law

Author: Susan Haack

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107039967

Category: Law

Page: 446

View: 8118

Susan Haack brings her distinctive work in theory of knowledge and philosophy of science to bear on real-life legal issues.
Posted in Law

Conjectures and Refutations

The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

Author: Karl Popper

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135971374

Category: Philosophy

Page: 608

View: 3405

Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.
Posted in Philosophy

Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law

Author: R. A. Duff,Stuart Green

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191654701

Category: Law

Page: 560

View: 7076

Twenty-five leading contemporary theorists of criminal law tackle a range of foundational issues about the proper aims and structure of the criminal law in a liberal democracy. The challenges facing criminal law are many. There are crises of over-criminalization and over-imprisonment; penal policy has become so politicized that it is difficult to find any clear consensus on what aims the criminal law can properly serve; governments seeking to protect their citizens in the face of a range of perceived threats have pushed the outer limits of criminal law and blurred its boundaries. To think clearly about the future of criminal law, and its role in a liberal society, foundational questions about its proper scope, structure, and operations must be re-examined. What kinds of conduct should be criminalized? What are the principles of criminal responsibility? How should offences and defences be defined? The criminal process and the criminal trial need to be studied closely, and the purposes and modes of punishment should be scrutinized. Such a re-examination must draw on the resources of various disciplines-notably law, political and moral philosophy, criminology and history; it must examine both the inner logic of criminal law and its place in a larger legal and political structure; it must attend to the growing field of international criminal law, it must consider how the criminal law can respond to the challenges of a changing world. Topics covered in this volume include the question of criminalization and the proper scope of the criminal law; the grounds of criminal responsibility; the ways in which offences and defences should be defined; the criminal process and its values; criminal punishment; the relationship between international criminal law and domestic criminal law. Together, the essays provide a picture of the exciting state of criminal law theory today, and the basis for further research and debate in the coming years.
Posted in Law

Rethinking Punishment

Author: Leo Zaibert

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110867660X

Category: Philosophy

Page: N.A

View: 4128

The age-old debate about what constitutes just punishment has become deadlocked. Retributivists continue to privilege desert over all else, and consequentialists continue to privilege punishment's expected positive consequences, such as deterrence or rehabilitation, over all else. In this important intervention into the debate, Leo Zaibert argues that despite some obvious differences, these traditional positions are structurally very similar, and that the deadlock between them stems from the fact they both oversimplify the problem of punishment. Proponents of these positions pay insufficient attention to the conflicts of values that punishment, even when justified, generates. Mobilizing recent developments in moral philosophy, Zaibert offers a properly pluralistic justification of punishment that is necessarily more complex than its traditional counterparts. An understanding of this complexity should promote a more cautious approach to inflicting punishment on individual wrongdoers and to developing punitive policies and institutions.
Posted in Philosophy

Roads to Infinity

The Mathematics of Truth and Proof

Author: John C. Stillwell

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1439865507

Category: Mathematics

Page: 250

View: 853

Winner of a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award for 2011! This book offers an introduction to modern ideas about infinity and their implications for mathematics. It unifies ideas from set theory and mathematical logic, and traces their effects on mainstream mathematical topics of today, such as number theory and combinatorics. The treatment is historical and partly informal, but with due attention to the subtleties of the subject. Ideas are shown to evolve from natural mathematical questions about the nature of infinity and the nature of proof, set against a background of broader questions and developments in mathematics. A particular aim of the book is to acknowledge some important but neglected figures in the history of infinity, such as Post and Gentzen, alongside the recognized giants Cantor and Gödel.
Posted in Mathematics

The Alchemists

Questioning our Faith in Courts as Democracy-Builders

Author: Tom Gerald Daly

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1108287190

Category: Law

Page: N.A

View: 2938

Can courts really build democracy in a state emerging from authoritarian rule? This book presents a searching critique of the contemporary global model of democracy-building for post-authoritarian states, arguing that it places excessive reliance on courts. Since 1945, both constitutional courts and international human rights courts have been increasingly perceived as alchemists, capable of transmuting the base materials of a nascent democracy into the gold of a functioning democratic system. By charting the development of this model, and critically analysing the evidence and claims for courts as democracy-builders, this book argues that the decades-long trend toward ever greater reliance on courts is based as much on faith as fact, and can often be counter-productive. Offering a sustained corrective to unrealistic perceptions of courts as democracy-builders, the book points the way toward a much needed rethinking of democracy-building models and a re-evaluation of how we employ courts in this role.
Posted in Law

Oxford studies in epistemology

Author: Tamar Szabó Gendler,John Hawthorne

Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr

ISBN: 9780199584093

Category: Knowledge, Theory of

Page: 334

View: 8756

Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a biennial publicaton which offers a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe and Australasia, it publishes exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Topics within its purview include: *traditional epistemological questions concerning the nature of belief, justification, and knowledge, the status of scepticism, the nature of the a priori, etc *new developments in epistemology, including movements such as naturalized epistemology, feminist epistemology, social epistemology, and virtue epistemology, and approaches such as contextualism *foundational questions in decision-theory *confirmation theory and other branches of philosophy of science that bear on traditional issues in epistemology *topics in the philosophy of perception relevant to epistemology *topics in cognitive science, computer science, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology that bear directly on traditional epistemological questions *work that examines connections between epistemology and other branches of philosophy, including work on testimony and the ethics of belief Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here.
Posted in Knowledge, Theory of

The Origins of Reasonable Doubt

Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial

Author: James Q. Whitman

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300116007

Category: History

Page: 276

View: 2071

To be convicted of a crime in the United States, a person must be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But what is reasonable doubt? Even sophisticated legal experts find this fundamental doctrine difficult to explain. In this accessible book, James Q. Whitman digs deep into the history of the law and discovers that we have lost sight of the original purpose of “reasonable doubt.” It was not originally a legal rule at all, he shows, but a theological one. The rule as we understand it today is intended to protect the accused. But Whitman traces its history back through centuries of Christian theology and common-law history to reveal that the original concern was to protect the souls of jurors. In Christian tradition, a person who experienced doubt yet convicted an innocent defendant was guilty of a mortal sin. Jurors fearful for their own souls were reassured that they were safe, as long as their doubts were not “reasonable.” Today, the old rule of reasonable doubt survives, but it has been turned to different purposes. The result is confusion for jurors, and a serious moral challenge for our system of justice.
Posted in History

Liability and Responsibility

Essays in Law and Morals

Author: Raymond Gillespie Frey,Christopher W. Morris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521392167

Category: Law

Page: 430

View: 1026

This collection not only presents some of the most challenging work in legal philosophy, but it also demonstrates the interdisciplinary character of the field of philosophy of law, with contributors taking into account developments in economics, political science and rational choice theory.
Posted in Law

Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences

A Pluralist Perspective

Author: Donatella Della Porta,Michael Keating

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139474596

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 6757

A revolutionary textbook introducing masters and doctoral students to the major research approaches and methodologies in the social sciences. Written by an outstanding set of scholars, and derived from successful course teaching, this volume will empower students to choose their own approach to research, to justify this approach, and to situate it within the discipline. It addresses questions of ontology, epistemology and philosophy of social science, and proceeds to issues of methodology and research design essential for producing a good research proposal. It also introduces researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences, identifying commonalities, historic continuities and genuine differences.
Posted in Political Science

Campus hate speech on trial

Author: Timothy C. Shiell

Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas

ISBN: N.A

Category: Education

Page: 256

View: 6676

Ten years after publication of the first edition of Timothy Shiell's pathbreaking study, restrictions on faculty and student speech on college campuses continue to be hotly contested in the mainstream media, on the internet, in the journals of academic disciplines, in courtrooms, classrooms, and chatrooms. This revised edition adds substantial new material that updates cases and conflicts during the past decade, expands the original's coverage of the relevant literature, and dramatically reinforces Shiell's original argument. In the first edition Shiell noted that, despite commitments to free speech and the open exchange of ideas, American colleges and universities had increasingly ignored such principles by implementing numerous hate speech codes designed to protect students from racial, sexual, and other forms of harassment. Taking their cue from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which guarantees the right to a nonhostile workplace environment, those regulations had posed seemingly unresolvable conflicts between the ideals of free speech and equal protection. Shiell explored both sides of the fiery debate over campus hate speech codes to bring out their philosophical and legal underpinnings, clarifying classic free speech arguments as well as the ideas of harm and hostile environment, and analyzing numerous case histories. Pointing out that Title VII wasn't meant to apply to academia, Shiell also encouraged readers to consider the role of the courts in eliminating prejudice in this setting and presented a strong argument for the form the codes themselves should ideally take. The new edition adds substantial new material on developments concerning the Deterrence Argument, the hostileenvironment approach, new judicial decisions, and the International Argument. It also updates the comprehensive bibliography and list of legal decisions, significantly increasing the value of both for scholars and policymakers alike. Shiell eloquently makes the case that campus speech codes--no matter how well grounded in history, law, or philosophy--have tended to be overbroad, arbitrarily enforced, and used selectively to protect only certain groups at the expense of others. For that reason especially, his book will continue to challenge academics and general readers to reconsider how we deal with this important issue.
Posted in Education