Two Concepts of Reliability


In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.[2] and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael,[3] the United States Supreme Court set the law of expert testimony on a quest for “reliability.” These decisions made it clear that trial judges are to perform a “gatekeeping” function, filtering out proposed testimony when the expertise on which it is based, whether scientific or otherwise, is not reliable. The new requirement has spawned a substantial literature and furious intellectual battles. Little attention has been given, however, to analyzing the relationship between the reliability requirement and the purposes of admissibility rules. In this essay, I argue that one key to making progress on the contested matters is changing the way courts and commentators conceive, or at least how they articulate, the requirement, so that this relationship becomes more transparent.



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The Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law

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5 The Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law (2005)

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COinS Dale A. Nance Faculty Bio