Epistemic and Criminal Justice: The Economy of Witness Credibility in German Criminal Procedural Law

Guest Lecture Series “Society: Status Quo and Normative Change”

  • Date: Dec 14, 2023
  • Time: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Dr. Jan Christoph Bublitz (University of Hamburg)
  • Dr. Jan Christoph Bublitz works as a legal scholar, currently as post-doc, at the University of Hamburg. His research interests are in criminal & human rights law, legal theory, and issues at the intersections of law, philosophy and cognitive sciences. At present, he is the PI of two international and interdisciplinary research collaborations, one on Memory, Trauma & the Law, the other on legal and ethical issues arising from the blending of artificial and organic intelligence through neurotechnologies, Hybrid Minds. With colleagues, he convenes the Freedom of Thought Research Network. He co-edits the book series Palgrave Studies on Neuroscience, Law & Human Behavior. Another topic that he spent much time exploring recently concerns borderlines between norms and nature and relations between legal reasoning & psychology, or law & biases.
  • Location: Freiburg/Germany, Fürstenbergstr. 19
  • Room: Seminar room (F 113) | Guests are welcome; please register
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
  • Contact: m.cordes@csl.mpg.de
Epistemic and Criminal Justice: The Economy of Witness Credibility in German Criminal Procedural Law
Struggles for recognition often concern not only the right to be heard but also to be believed. A recurrent criticism of criminal justice systems in Germany and elsewhere holds that the testimonies of some witness groups such as alleged victims of sexual offenses are not adequately believed. This criticism raises worries about the legitimacy of criminal procedures and should not be dismissed as mere empirical matters. One of the most influential theories in contemporary philosophy, Miranda Fricker's account of epistemic injustice, explores forms of injustice which persons may be exposed to in the production of knowledge and in giving testimony. The account provides a philosophical lens for analyzing German criminal procedural law. In particular, the talk examines the claim that epistemic justice may and should be considered an implicit principle of criminal procedural law, with implications for two case examples: the pre­sump­tion of falsity of witness statements, established in a landmark decision by the German Fed­eral Court of Justice over twenty years ago, as well as the way the justice system addresses specific group-based biases in judicial reasoning such as racial bias. Both suggest legal reforms.

Please register your participation with Manuel Cordes: m.cordes@csl.mpg.de.

Go to Editor View