Paul E. Meehl


The two opposite errors a lawyer may make in evaluating the social scientist's contribution to law are to be overly critical and hostile, or to be unduly impressed and uncritically receptive. I have seen examples of both mistakes. The extreme form of the first attitude is shown by the lawyer who frankly believes that psychology, psychiatry, and sociology are mostly "baloney," pretentious disciplines which have abandoned common-sense knowledge of human life but whose claim to have substituted scientific knowledge is spurious. I would like to believe that this hostile attitude is always based upon misinformation or ignorance; but unfortunately, if I am honest with myself, I must admit that sometimes lawyers feel this way in spite of their being knowledgeable.

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