In an extended discussion in Law SE chat, there was a description of the legal approach to epistemology, namely one that is dependent upon the findings of the various actors of the criminal justice system: police, defendants and plaintiffs, judges, lawyers, and juries. The specific quote that I wanted to touch upon was:

It means that science and law fundamentally (and, one could argue, incompatibly) disagree on the nature of truth. In science, no group exists that can declare something “fact”. In law, that’s what juries and/or judges do. Asking scientific questions about something science considers impossible is akin to asking what color the most magical unicorns are. – cHao

But despite this, I know that there is a distinct gap in my knowledge of both realms to conclusively address the issue.

How would you test it? It is fundamental that juries decide what is fact from disputed evidence (juries have nothing to do when the parties agree what the facts are). How do you set up your double blind experiment when there is no way of telling objectively who the guilty and not guilty defendants are? – Dale M

Taking a research-approach to the question, I posited a rough sketch of how I would’ve approached the topic.

@DaleM complete taking a guess here, a control (12 jurors) and different experimental groups consisting of different sizes. A known “case” where it is known with a p value of <0.05 that the defendant is X (can be real or imagined). The prosecution (study confederate) would present evidence systematically and equally to all groups but without knowing actual case X. Based on experimental results, determine optimal jury size. – Me

So I ask:

  • Why is there a fundamental gap between law and science?
  • Can the two ever be ‘merged’ or ‘reconciled’?
  • How would both realms work if they adopted attributes from either realm?

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