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Open Lecture: Law, Science and the Socratic Method

Terms and concepts with origins in the natural sciences permeate the law. This is true in the ?classic? legal fields such as tort law, where scientific expertise is often needed to determine risk or fault, and it is especially true in ?newer? legal fields such as environmental law, in which the laws themselves often use highly technical language. Legal terms containing natural scientific content with which courts have recently grappled include, for example, genetically modified organism, point source pollution, and natural range of a species. These terms describe or use scientific ideas, but when they are used in the law, they also become legal terms. Differing interpretations of these terms and concepts in different disciplines affect decision making and make it difficult to know whether the law is being complied with. In this open lecture, I describe how using logic to interrogate legal-scientific concepts can improve interdisciplinary communication and legal decision making.

Yaffa Epstein is a researcher in environmental law at the Uppsala University Law Faculty. She focuses on methods for interdisciplinary collaboration between natural and legal science, which she applies particularly in the areas of species protection, pollution, and rights of nature. She was recently awarded a Pro Futura Scientia fellowship at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies to develop her research on rights of nature jurisprudence.

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Mattias Vesterlund, Teknisk- och administrativ personal

18 december 2020



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