2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophy’s contribution to a potentual reform of the jury system

Lucinda Constable, 2022, Stage 3

Within crminal law trial by jury continues to be the “gold standard means of delivering justice” as the combined wisdom of twelve jurors is thought to be able to overcome the challenges of interpreting the facts of the case and evaluating evidence. However, while recent polls have demonstrated the public’s support for this system, cases such as Derek Bentley have, have caused some to question whether this is a reliable or effective way of delivering justice. Therefore, the aim of this project was to consider whether our current jury system ought to be replaced by a judiciary of judged. This essay initially began by demonstrating how applying Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic model of interpretation could help jurors overcome the challenge of having to reconstruct what happened. Moving on to consider the problem of intent, it examined whether Kant’s deontological ethics could help jurors reconstruct and judge the defendents intetions. The essay then moved onto Hegel’s critique of Kant, before demonstrating how John Austin’s study of excuses could provide a linguistic anlalysis of Hegel’s critique. Finally, it turned to consider Hegel’s theory of action to see whether this theory could provide sufficient guidance on the subject of intent.

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