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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Durham Book Festival - Public Debate - There is No Such Thing as Hard Evidence

11th October 2015, 15:00 to 16:00, Palace Green Library (Wolfson Gallery), Dr Dan Grausam, Professor Judith Howard (CBE), Peter Guttridge and Louise Welsh

Following another successful debate sponsored by Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study last year, there will be a major public debate at the 2015 Durham Book Festival.

The debate topic this year will center on Evidence.

A key question about Evidence is the extent to which we can rely on it. Does it really constitute objective ‘proof’, or is it more often the marshalling of particular ‘facts’ to support subjective beliefs or to provide justificatory rhetorics? Scientific evidence carries massive authority – but is often disproved. Criminal evidence can be sufficient to achieve a conviction, but sometimes turns out to be flawed. So can we really say that there is such a thing as irrefutable ‘hard’ evidence?

Arguments for and against the motion will be proposed by two Durham University researchers including Dr Dan Grausam (English Studies) and Professor Judith Howard (CBE), as  as well as two leading crime writers, Louise Welsh and Peter Guttridge. Durham University’s Professor David Cowling will chair the debate. The audience will have a vote on which team has made the most convincing case.


Palace Green Library (Wolfson Gallery). (Please note, this event is no longer taking place at Durham Town Hall).

£4/£3/£2 (Durham University students). All tickets must be purchased via the Book Festival.

Contact for more information about this event.