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Georgi Gardiner (Tennessee) – “She Said, He Said” (Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy seminar)
14 October 2021 @ 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
The Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy invites you to an online seminar to be delivered by Georgi Gardiner (Tennessee). The Zoom meeting will begin at 16:00 (UK time) on Oct 13.
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She Said, He Said: Rape Accusations and the Preponderance of the EvidenceAbstract
‘She said, he said’ cases are accusations of rape, followed by denials, with no further significant case-specific evidence, such as credible alibis or third-party witnesses. In ‘she said, he said’ cases, I argue, probably the accusation is true. But this epistemic asymmetry underwrites a paradox, which I call the ‘she said, he said’ paradox. I motivate this paradox and contrast it with the infamous ‘proof paradox’ in legal epistemology.
Legal standards of proof are epistemic thresholds that must be met for institutions to impose sanctions on individuals accused of misconduct. Until August 2020, the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard—also known as the ‘balance of probabilities’ standard—governed Title IX procedures for sexual misconduct hearings in educational institutions in the US. Then the Trump administration rescinded this Obama-era regulation. Institutions can now decide between the ‘preponderance’ standard and the more demanding ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard.
I present a liberal feminist argument for the conclusion that the ‘preponderance’ standard is too low to govern Title IX procedures. But this conclusion is itself anathematic to liberal feminism. This tension generates the ‘she said, he said’paradox: Each claim is individually plausible, but they are mutually incompatible.
Georgi Gardiner is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Tennessee. She was previously the Andrew Fraser Junior Research Fellow at St. John’s College, Oxford University. Her doctorate is from Rutgers University.
Prof Gardiner specialise in epistemology and meta-philosophy. Her research areas include the nature of understanding and explanation, virtue epistemology, epistemic value, social epistemology, legal epistemology, applied epistemology, and the ethics of belief.
Prof Gardiner’s recent projects concern evidence law, epistemology of rape, and roles of statistical evidence in judgement. She is increasingly interested in the epistemic power of attention and doubt.
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