Risky Business: Statistical Proof of Individual Causation
12:00pm - 1:00pm Friday, January 20th, 2012
Alumni Reception Center, 200 McAllister Street, UC Hastings College of the Law
Susan Haack, MA, BPhil, PhD
About the presentation: After tracking down where it arose and how it spread through our legal system, this paper offers a systematic critique of the idea that evidence of more than doubled risk of a disease or disorder among those exposed to a suspect substance is crucial to proof of individual causation. The first part of her argument is that evidence of more than doubled risk is neither necessary nor sufficient to establish individual causation “by a preponderance of the evidence;” the second part, that requiring evidence of more than doubled risk for a plaintiff’s testimony to be even admissible is defensible neither from a legal nor from a policy perspective.
About the Speaker: Susan Haack, MA, B.Phil, PhD is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law. Her work ranges from philosophy of logic and language, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, Pragmatism—both philosophical and legal—and the law of evidence, especially scientific evidence, to social philosophy, feminism, and philosophy of literature. Her books include Philosophy of Logics; Deviant Logic, Fuzzy Logic: Beyond the Formalism; Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate; Defending Science – Within Reason; Pragmatism, Old and New; and most recently, Putting Philosophy to Work (2008), Ciencia, Sociedad y Cultura (2008), and the second, expanded edition of her internationally-acclaimed Evidence and Inquiry (2009). In 2010 she received her first copies of the Chinese edition of Defending Science; and in 2011 she gave a series of lectures in Rio de Janeiro to mark the publication of the Portuguese edition of her Manifesto. She has also published a very large number and great variety of articles, in philosophical, legal, literary, scientific, and general-interest journals—including a good many so highly-regarded that they have been reprinted several times. Her work has been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Romanian, Korean, and Chinese; and she is invited to lecture around the world. She counts more than 500 speaking engagements so far—in philosophy departments, at law schools, at international conferences, and in numerous other fora. In 2009 she gave lectures across the U.S., and in Italy, the U.K., Switzerland, Chile, Colombia, and—her second major lecture tour there—China; in 2010 she gave lectures in the U.S., Spain, Slovakia, Canada, Finland, and Colombia; and in 2011 in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, and Romania. Prof. Haack has won an award from the American Philosophical Association, and another from UM, for excellence in teaching; and (also from UM) an award for outstanding graduate mentor, the Provost’s Award for excellence in research, and the Faculty Senate Distinguished Scholar Award; as well as the (national) Forkosch Award for excellence in writing. She was included in Peter J. King’s One Hundred Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World’s Greatest Thinkers and on the Sunday Independent’s list, based on a BBC poll, of the ten most important women philosophers of all time; and her work has celebrated in a volume of essays entitled Susan Haack: A Lady of Distinctions.