The conceptual challenge of expert evidence

Ronald J Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    The relationship between expert knowledge and the form of trials is examined. For the most part, trials are educational events in which the investigator is expected to comprehend, process, and deliberate on the evidence, and as a result to reach rational conclusions. This process reflects the fundamental importance of factual accuracy at trial, without which rights and obligations are essentially meaningless. Expert evidence often involves a deferential rather than an educational mode of proceeding and to that extent can be in opposition to the normal aspirations of trials. The rationale of this development is discussed, and so are its consequences. The alternative advanced is that all evidence should be presented in an educational mode if the aspirations of trials are to be realized. If evidence cannot be presented in such a way, then the matter to which the evidence is pertinent cannot plausibly be litigated in accordance with the normal aspirations of trials.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)41-65
    Number of pages25
    JournalDiscusiones Filosoficas
    Issue number23
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Evidence
    • Expert testimony
    • Liberal legal system
    • Right
    • Rules of evidence
    • Trial

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy


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