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Legal epistemology: what do legal scholars know?

Dates:
  • Tue 23 Feb 2021 10.00 - 13.00
  • Thu 25 Feb 2021 10.00 - 13.00
  • Fri 26 Feb 2021 10.00 - 13.00
  Add to Calendar 2021-02-23 10:00 2021-02-26 13:00 Europe/Paris Legal epistemology: what do legal scholars know?

Outline

The seminar explores legal scholar’s claim to knowledge and understanding. In particular, it looks into the various kinds of truth-claims made (often implicitly) by legal scholars. These include statements about valid and invalid arguments, better and worse reasons, and references to standards for validity. In addition, the seminar examines the existing strands of critique and scepticism with regard to such claims. The aim is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the claims to knowledge and understanding made by legal scholars, both in general and specifically in the researchers’ own projects.

 

The focus will be, in particular, on the quite different standards for validity or plausibility, and accepted methods for arriving at the truth, prevailing in doctrinal-positivist, normative, empirical, and critical legal scholarship, respectively. For each of these branches of legal scholarship we will discuss both the (explicit or implicit) epistemic claims made in the field at hand and the main critique and scepticism expressed towards them.

 

Finally, we will discuss the justice dimension of legal epistemics. The term ‘epistemic injustice’ was introduced by Miranda Fricker to refer to the injustices done to people when their understanding (of themselves, their surroundings, what matters) is inhibited by dominant ways of looking at the world. We will try to uncover instances of epistemic injustice in legal scholarship. In particular, we will examine where voices are structurally granted lower authority (testimonial injustice), and where legal categories and taxonomies foreground or background the ways specific groups in society experience their interaction with the law (hermeneutical injustice).

 

Readings

Selected readings will be made available in advance.

Assignment

In two short essays (max 500 words each), researchers will reflect upon 1) the epistemic claims made (implicitly) in their own research project, and 2) instances of epistemic injustice in their own respective fields of research.

Outside EUI premises - DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises -

Outline

The seminar explores legal scholar’s claim to knowledge and understanding. In particular, it looks into the various kinds of truth-claims made (often implicitly) by legal scholars. These include statements about valid and invalid arguments, better and worse reasons, and references to standards for validity. In addition, the seminar examines the existing strands of critique and scepticism with regard to such claims. The aim is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the claims to knowledge and understanding made by legal scholars, both in general and specifically in the researchers’ own projects.

 

The focus will be, in particular, on the quite different standards for validity or plausibility, and accepted methods for arriving at the truth, prevailing in doctrinal-positivist, normative, empirical, and critical legal scholarship, respectively. For each of these branches of legal scholarship we will discuss both the (explicit or implicit) epistemic claims made in the field at hand and the main critique and scepticism expressed towards them.

 

Finally, we will discuss the justice dimension of legal epistemics. The term ‘epistemic injustice’ was introduced by Miranda Fricker to refer to the injustices done to people when their understanding (of themselves, their surroundings, what matters) is inhibited by dominant ways of looking at the world. We will try to uncover instances of epistemic injustice in legal scholarship. In particular, we will examine where voices are structurally granted lower authority (testimonial injustice), and where legal categories and taxonomies foreground or background the ways specific groups in society experience their interaction with the law (hermeneutical injustice).

 

Readings

Selected readings will be made available in advance.

Assignment

In two short essays (max 500 words each), researchers will reflect upon 1) the epistemic claims made (implicitly) in their own research project, and 2) instances of epistemic injustice in their own respective fields of research.


Location:
Outside EUI premises -

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Seminar

Contact:
Law Department Administration - Send a mail

Speaker:
Prof. Martijn W. Hesselink (University of Amsterdam)

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