The interested expert problem and the epistemology of juries

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Abstract

The existence of experts raises a host of interesting questions in social, legal, and political epistemology. This article introduces and discusses interested experts - people who are experts on some topic, but who also have a distinct set of values and preferences regarding that topic, so that they are not well-described as disinterested parties. Interested experts raise several distinct problems in social, legal, and political epistemology. Some general questions arise: can we rationally or justifiably form beliefs relying on interested expert testimony? Do they constitute knowledge? Under what circumstances? This article focuses on a specific question in legal epistemology: should interested experts be allowed to serve on juries and, if so, should it be permissible for lawyers to strike them from the pool of potential jurors? My hope is that concentrating on this question will provide insight into the more general questions concerning the epistemology of testimony with respect to interested experts, while also providing concrete recommendations for jury reform to improve the epistemic performance of juries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-452
Number of pages25
JournalEpisteme
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 7 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • Experts
  • bias
  • epistemology of testimony
  • interested experts
  • juries
  • legal epistemology
  • peremptory challenge
  • standpoint epistemology
  • testimony

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