The main idea of this paper came from the observation that not only scientists produce facts to be used by the law, but also the legal system influences the formation of scientific knowledge. In this co-production cycle, the courts, acting as regulatory agencies, conduct their investigations at the boundaries of scientific knowledge, where questions are uncertain, contested and fluid, not on a background of a widely established scientific knowledge. We address then a specific case that puts in evidence the interweaving of law and science: a public hearing in the Supreme Court (STF). We chose to address a public audience that decides on the possibility of anticipation of delivery of anencephalic fetus. Through the analysis of the exhibitors' discourse and the articulation of arguments by ministers it is possible to notice how each judge aligns to the points more attuned to his conviction. We conclude that scientists who participate in the public audience do not bring in their presentations the "fact" (object of judgment), but "facts" that, in the exercise of an ontological politics by ministers, will be taken and turned into "scientific truths" to be accepted by the mantle of res judicata. After the trial, the defeated thesis disappears and anencephalic assumes a new form. Technoscience disrupts social relations, which are then compelled to a redefinition, through law, with directions and obligations. It is not, therefore, a case of divergence in the legal system but a scientific controversy in a court.

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A public hearing at the federal supreme court
The construction of a scientific fact in court

Daniele Santos   Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

The main idea of this paper came from the observation that not only scientists produce facts to be used by the law, but also the legal system influences the formation of scientific knowledge. In this co-production cycle, the courts, acting as regulatory agencies, conduct their investigations at the boundaries of scientific knowledge, where questions are uncertain, contested and fluid, not on a background of a widely established scientific knowledge. We address then a specific case that puts in evidence the interweaving of law and science: a public hearing in the Supreme Court (STF). We chose to address a public audience that decides on the possibility of anticipation of delivery of anencephalic fetus. Through the analysis of the exhibitors' discourse and the articulation of arguments by ministers it is possible to notice how each judge aligns to the points more attuned to his conviction. We conclude that scientists who participate in the public audience do not bring in their presentations the "fact" (object of judgment), but "facts" that, in the exercise of an ontological politics by ministers, will be taken and turned into "scientific truths" to be accepted by the mantle of res judicata. After the trial, the defeated thesis disappears and anencephalic assumes a new form. Technoscience disrupts social relations, which are then compelled to a redefinition, through law, with directions and obligations. It is not, therefore, a case of divergence in the legal system but a scientific controversy in a court.

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