Monday, April 21, 2008

Assault This Definition -- Please!

Please assault the following definition of evidence in contemporary American trials:
Except when the term “evidence” is manipulated by the law to achieve specific instrumental or policy ends, in American law the term “evidence” generally refers to any matter that may increase knowledge about states of the world whenever the knowledge that may be found in such matter either is not available or is not readily available to the ordinary knowledge and reason of triers of fact; but “evidence” does not include any matter whose knowledge-value depends on propositions, principles, or methods that a large majority (e.g., 95%) of literate persons with a college degree view [“views”?] as clearly and incontestably false or invalid.
Possible discussion test case: The evidentiary status of the testimony of an “ethics expert.” Consider various kinds of “ethics experts.” Consider different possible purposes of the testimony of such “experts.”
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