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Are Expert Witnesses Whores? Reflections on Objectivity in Scholarship and Expert Witnessing

Kousser, J. Morgan (1984) Are Expert Witnesses Whores? Reflections on Objectivity in Scholarship and Expert Witnessing. The Public Historian, 6 . pp. 5-19. ISSN 0272-3433.

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Expert witnesses' general reputation for veracity is not untainted. In the elegant and tasteful expression of Harold Green, director of the Law, Science, and Technology Program at George Washington University, "Expert witnesses are whores .... " Others interviewed for a newspaper article on science and public policy, in which Green's statement appears, were somewhat more charitable in their diction, but affirmed that expert witnesses were "chosen not for their wisdom or sagacity but for their willingness to say in the simplest, clearest, least tentative way what a particular side wants said.

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URLURL TypeDescription ItemHumanities Working Papers 78
Additional Information:© 1984 The University of California Press. The Public Historian, 6 (1984), 5-19. Reprinted in Theodore J. Karamanski, ed., Ethics & Public History: An Anthology (Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1990), 31-44. Previous versions of this paper were given at the Social Science History Association Convention in 1981, at the Association of American Law Schools Convention in 1983, and at the Caltech History Colloquium in 1983. One of the special joys of writing and giving this paper has been the chance to learn from people whose attention I would not usually he able to demand. I particularly want to thank for their comments Brian Barry, Derrick Bell, John Benton, Armand Derfner, Jim O'Fallon, Phil Hoffman, Will Jones, Dan Kevles, Steve Morse, and Ed Still. Since it seems likely that all of them retain some reservations about the paper, none should he held responsible for its remaining flaws.
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