Accepted paper:

Statistics and the Politics of causality in late modernity

Author:

Tal Golan (University of California, San Diego)

Paper short abstract:

My talk will discuss the intertwining scientific and legal quests for true causes in late-modernity, when true causes are hard to find, no single explanatory factor is sufficient, and neither the scientific expert nor the lay jury are trusted to decide the facts.

Paper long abstract:

Until the 1970s, epidemiological evidence could hardly be found in American courts of law. A decade later, in the 1980s, it was announced "the best (if not the sole) available evidence in mass exposure cases." A decade later, in the 1990, it revolutionized the law of evidence, first in the US and subsequently in other countries as well. In my talk will discuss the causes and stations of this brilliant career of epidemiology in courts of law. I will argue that it represent a new stage in the relations between science and law in late-modernity, when true causes are hard to find, no single explanatory factor is sufficient, and neither the scientific expert nor the lay citizen could be trusted to decide the facts by themselves.

panel T161
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