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Psychological Injury and Law

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 127–139 | Cite as

The Roles of Scientific and Clinical Epistemologies in Forensic Mental Health Assessments

  • Madelyn Simring MilchmanEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article discusses the respective contributions of scientific and clinical epistemologies to formulating expert opinions in personal injury and other forensic cases involving psychological testimony. It argues that each epistemology provides specific truth criteria that, though different, are both objective. It analyzes the reasons that some experts malign clinical judgments; compares each epistemology’s approach to truth; and identifies their respective roles in forensic assessments. It expands the scientific meanings of internal and external validity so that they apply to clinical evidence and then uses them to propose a schema for supporting or falsifying expert opinions as a whole. It concludes by discussing risks created by preferring one epistemology to the other, rather than appreciating their complementary roles.

Keywords

Science Clinical judgment Expert opinions Validity Attorney challenges 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Gerald Young and Andrew Kane for their stimulating discussions as the ideas in this article developed.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Upper MontclairUSA

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