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Print version ISSN 1405-0218


HERDY, Rachel. Epistemic Dependence, Anti-Individualism and Authority in Law. Isonomía [online]. 2014, n.40, pp.119-146. ISSN 1405-0218.

This paper offers a non-individualistic view of judicial epistemic justification. It is suggested that legal epistemology should reconsider its theory of epistemic justification so as to make it congruent with the possibility that rational decisionmakers might lack intellectual autonomy. It is argued that epistemic dependence is one of the properties that distinguish the process of reasoning about facts in the law, and that decision-makers are justified in accepting a proposition in court on the basis of the cognitive lives of other people. After making some terminological clarifications about the concepts of 'testimony' and 'evidence', this paper explains the structure of epistemic dependence, addresses current normative debates about epistemic justification in testimonial cases, and proposes a distinct externalist position called anti-individualism. At the end, the paper explores a variation on the topic, which consists in the integration of the notion of epistemic dependence into a theory of authority in the law.

Keywords : epistemic justification; judicial decision; epistemic dependence; testimony; anti-individualism; authority.

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