Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 2002
Philosophical and Legal Issues
Our courts are regularly confronted with the claims of expert witnesses. Since experts are permitted to present testimony in the courtroom, we have to assume that judges and juries understand what it means to have expertise and can consistently recognize someone who has it. Yet these assumptions need to be examined, for the legal system probably underestimates the difficulty of identifying expertise. In this paper, several philosophical issues pertaining to expertise will be discussed, including what expertise is, why we rely on experts, what measures can be taken to verify expertise, and how we determine whether a particular individual is an expert.