Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Allan C. Hutchinson


What does anyone know after a trial, after a witness gives testimony, or even after seeking the counsel of a lawyer? Hopefully, the answer to these questions has something to do with the truth. Legal systems claim to have truth-seeking functions. Lawyers have specific roles in the procedures by which legal systems seek the truth and these roles are informed by the norms of legal practice. Yet, lawyers' relationship to truth and knowledge remains underexplored in the philosophy of lawyering. I argue that the philosophy of lawyering needs to develop the epistemic branch of inquiry. The epistemic study of the legal profession offers both enrichment of this applied field of philosophy itself and the opportunity for the philosophy of lawyering to link up with a nexus of emerging scholarship about cognition in legal systems and legal services especially metacognition in legal pedagogy and behavioural legal ethics (which explores the psychology of lawyers). Advancing an epistemic approach to the philosophy of lawyering, I study the way in which the lawyer is involved in the adversarial systems truth-seeking function. My theory of lawyering is informed by recent scholarship in social epistemology and virtue epistemology. I propose a normative epistemology of lawyering, meaning specifically that my approach speaks to the professional character development of the lawyer. In the adversarial system of adjudication, lawyers can support the truth-seeking function of the system by developing the intellectual virtues of an epistemic partisan. I put my proposal to the test against Monroe Freedmans Client Perjury Trilemma, reaching new conclusions about the responses to the famous problem. Ultimately, I call for a commitment to professional character formation in service of the legal systems search for truth.


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