Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Jack Lyons

Committee Member

Thomas Senor

Second Committee Member

Jacob Adler

Third Committee Member

Jack Lyons

Abstract

The domain of legal epistemology is defined from two alternative perspectives: individual epistemology and social epistemology. Since these perspectives have different objects of evaluation, their judgments privilege and exclude different sets of information. While methodological individualism is concerned with justified beliefs of individual knowers, the social angle focuses on the institutional conditions of knowledge. I will show that the information that is respectively excluded by both the individual and the social concepts of legal epistemology weaken their respective evaluations. With this in mind, I will explore one new option of defining legal epistemology. This alternative is more comprehensive, in the sense that integrates the information excluded by the aforementioned concepts. My intuition is that such an alternative is more accurate because it takes into account both legal agents and institutions. Since "the devil is in the details," I will corroborate my thesis with two theories of legal epistemology, namely, Susan Haack's and Alvin Goldman's. The idea is to show that a proper function legal epistemology illuminates better the main epistemological problems of the field of law.

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