The Law Strives for an Impossible Standard of Accuracy

When we are asked to swear in courts of law that we will tell 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth', we are being asked the impossible. It is simply beyond our powers. Our memories are fallible; even scientific truth is merely an approximation; and we are ignorant about nearly all of the Universe. Nevertheless, a life may depend on our testimony. To swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the limit of our abilities is a fair request. Without the qualifying phrase, though, it's simply out of touch. But such a qualification, however consonant with human reality, is unacceptable to any legal system. If everyone tells the truth only to a degree determined by individual judgement, then incriminating or awkward facts might be withheld, events shaded, culpability hidden, responsibility evaded, and justice denied. So the law strives for an impossible standard of accuracy, and we do the best we can.


When it asks us to swear to tell the whole truth.

Folksonomies: science truth accuracy

/law, govt and politics (0.611610)
/society/unrest and war (0.388525)
/law, govt and politics/law enforcement/police (0.369825)

truth (0.943789 (negative:-0.126870)), scientific truth (0.776085 (neutral:0.000000)), Impossible Standard (0.672274 (negative:-0.504463)), Law Strives (0.637320 (negative:-0.504463)), individual judgement (0.622993 (neutral:0.000000)), human reality (0.615132 (positive:0.283280)), fair request (0.613166 (positive:0.290910)), accuracy (0.529684 (negative:-0.504463)), swear (0.513462 (negative:-0.215736)), approximation (0.461037 (neutral:0.000000)), courts (0.457677 (negative:-0.503790)), qualifying (0.455779 (negative:-0.414849)), qualification (0.455445 (neutral:0.000000)), powers (0.455173 (negative:-0.644291)), phrase (0.454831 (neutral:0.000000)), memories (0.450985 (positive:0.220716)), limit (0.450747 (positive:0.290910)), responsibility (0.450520 (negative:-0.469604)), testimony (0.447731 (positive:0.433182)), abilities (0.447439 (positive:0.290910)), touch (0.447285 (neutral:0.000000)), Universe. (0.446096 (positive:0.453615)), life (0.445995 (positive:0.433182)), justice (0.444104 (neutral:0.000000)), degree (0.443141 (neutral:0.000000)), facts (0.441607 (neutral:0.000000))

Law (0.961594): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Truth (0.690784): dbpedia | freebase
Academic degree (0.540297): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Jury (0.534418): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Sentence (0.534036): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Judge (0.530478): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Appeal (0.501470): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Lawyer (0.500913): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sagan , Carl and Druyan , Ann (1997-02-25), The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Ballantine Books, Retrieved on 2011-05-04
Folksonomies: science empiricism rationalism


03 APR 2011


Memes on seeing the world as it really is.