New research by UM law professor analyzes the marriage of science and law

CORAL GABLES, FL (October 21, 2009) — Distinguished Professor on the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Law Susan Haack has recently published a research paper entitled, “Irreconcilable Differences? The Troubled Marriage of Science and Law.”

Because its business is to resolve disputed issues, the law very often calls on those fields of science where the pressure of commercial interests is most severe. Moreover, the legal system aspires to handle disputes promptly. And so, the scientific questions to which the law seeks answers will often be those for which all the evidence is not yet in.

The legal system also often demands answers to case-specific questions, which science is not well-equipped to supply; and it constitutes virtually the entire market for certain scientific specialties, for instance, in the fields of forensic science and for certain psychiatric specialties. Moreover, the rules of evidence can make it almost impossible to bring potentially useful scientific information to light. Further, because of its concern for precedent, and the desideratum of finality, the law sometimes lags behind scientific advances.

This article appears in Law and Contemporary Problems, and is available now.

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