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Evidence & Procedure

This cluster revolves around the questions at the intersection of the cognitive sciences and the law of evidence and legal procedure. There are two key sets of such questions. The first pertains to the use of cognitive science, and in particular neuroscience, as the source of evidence in the court trial. The second is more theoretical in character: legal procedure is an encapsulation of the process of decision-making. It embodies a certain ideal of rational (justified) deliberation. However, the contemporary cognitive sciences underscore all kinds errors the human mind is prone to commit while involved in decision-making. Humans are often biased, make (unconscious) use of heuristics, choose cognitive safety over evidence-based decisions. Thus, there is an important tension between the rational ideals, which serve as the basis for legal procedure, and the actual (and often fallible) mechanisms of decision-making.

The cluster aims at investigating those issues. It requires considering both legal regulations and the findings of the cognitive sciences. Moreover, the issues in question cannot be responsibly addressed without a careful methodological consideration, based on philosophical analysis. Only such an interdisciplinary approach, combining legal science with philosophy and cognitive science, may provide a full picture of the issues connected to evidence and legal procedure.

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