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Abstract

This article will explore the relationship between the "vanishing trial" and the changing ways in which we think about truth. First, it briefly overviews how we think about knowing what is true: epistemology and this history of philosophy. Second, it looks to the philosophy of science and history of social science for new theories and methods about how we ascertain and construct meaning and what we believe to be real and true. Third, it examines our changing relation to information in the face of the "information explosion": information is the evidence upon which we reach a conclusion about what is true. Fourth, it relates these changes to the philosophy of law and theories of the jury and adversary system. Fifth, it examines what social science has taught us about truth, belief, trust, justice, and control over information. Finally, it addresses how these changes may explain why litigants are using mediation, arbitration, and other forms of appropriate dispute resolution in lieu of the adversarial civil trial.

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