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Objectivity in Science and Law: A Shared Rescue Strategy

Burch, Matthew and Furman, Katherine (2019) 'Objectivity in Science and Law: A Shared Rescue Strategy.' International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 64. 60 - 70. ISSN 0160-2527

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Abstract

The ideal of objectivity is in crisis in science and the law, and yet it continues to do important work in both practices. This article describes that crisis and develops a shared rescue strategy for objectivity in both domains. In a recent article, Inkeri Koskinen (2018) attempts to bring unity to the fragmented discourse on objectivity in the philosophy of science with a risk account of objectivity. To put it simply, she argues that we call practitioners, processes, and products of science objective when they identify and manage certain important epistemic risks. We endorse this view and attempt to tailor Koskinen’s strategy to the problem of objectivity in the legal context. To do so, we develop a novel notion of phronetic risk, and argue that we call practitioners, processes, and products of law objective when they identify and manage certain important epistemic and/or phronetic risks. Our attempt to rescue objectivity is especially important for work at the intersection of law and psychiatry. For that intersection represents a place where skeptical worries about objectivity in science and law work in tandem to pose serious critical challenges to contemporary practice; and our rescue strategy represents a promising way to negotiate those challenges.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: objectivity, science, law, psychiatry, epistemic risk, phronetic risk
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental Health
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2019 14:44
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2019 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24104

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