SMNR: Differing Roles of Evidence in Science and in Law

Class Unique: 28723
Cross-Listing Two of the major truth-seeking enterprises in modern society - the natural sciences and the law - purport to be grounded on empirical evidence. The curious fact is, however, that the ways in which these two activities utilize evidence are starkly different. For instance, legal adjudication depends very heavily on the notions of a standard of poof and a burden of proof. The sciences generally dispense with both ideas. On the other hand, the sciences are very keen on the testing of hypotheses and the robust design of experiments to test them. Courts generally do not do experiments and, even then, their notion of a "test" is very different from the scientific one. Our aim in this seminar will be to explore other both of them activities - science or the law - couldn't profit from making itself more like its counterpart.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Thursday 12:30 - 3:30 pm TNH 3.114
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed


  • Evidence Matters - Susan Haack
      Cambridge University Press
      ISBN: 978-1-107-69834-5   (required)


Laudan, Larry Laudan, Larry