Presentation by Jacob Smith - Philosophy Grad Student
Jacob Smith will present his research at the Social Epistemology Network (SEN) online workshop.
Jacob Smith, University of Tennessee
TITLE: “Virtues, Situationism, and Character Evidence: A Virtue Theoretical Defense of Federal Rule of Evidence 404”
ABSTRACT: The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) govern the admissibility of evidence in legal procedure. FRE 404 controversially prohibits the use of evidence about a defendant’s character to prove conduct. Detractors argue character evidence should be admissible because characterological judgments are ubiquitous. In response, situationists defend FRE 404 by arguing character doesn’t determine conduct. I show that even if situationism is false, FRE 404 is epistemically defensible from a virtue theoretical standpoint. I show how three rebuttals against situationism (the Narrow Traits, Competing Traits, and Rarity Arguments) entail that character evidence is generally unreliable and, accordingly, FRE 404 is epistemically justifiable.
Friday, July 24, 2020 at 2:30pm to 3:30pmVirtual Event