Karl Popper, Forensic Science, and Nested Codes


This paper utilizes the framework of Karl Popper’s 3-world ontology to make the case that forensic science is a specialized coding system that establishes meaningful connections between the world of biology (world 1) and the world of human society (world 3). Forensic science is a cross-disciplinary endeavor that uses scientific methods to determine what transpired in a crime so the legal system can determine how to prosecute the offender(s). On a Popperian analysis of forensic science, world 1 consists of evidence gathered at the crime scene, which enables investigators to develop a detailed reconstruction of the incident for consideration under the legal and ethical codes of society, which are products of world 3. Understanding forensic science in this way serves two purposes: first, it extends Marcello Barbieri’s code biology into the realm of philosophical considerations in science, law and ethics; and second, it situates forensic science within the larger context of debates in contemporary philosophy of science.

DOI: 10.1007/s12304-014-9215-y

Extracted Key Phrases

2 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@article{Swan2014KarlPF, title={Karl Popper, Forensic Science, and Nested Codes}, author={Liz Stillwaggon Swan}, journal={Biosemiotics}, year={2014}, volume={7}, pages={309-319} }