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Just a nice quote that’s too long for Twitter:

The last matter presented for consideration is that the verdict is excessive. To this proposition we assent. The testimony shows that at the time he received the injury the defendant in error was about twenty-five years of age. While the testimony of the physicians leave it in doubt as to his final and complete recovery, it appears that at the time of the trial he had so far recovered from his injury as to be engaged in business, and to be able to devote most if not all of his time thereto. The injury is defined and described by the physicians as concussion of the spinal cord, by which a diseased or abnormal condition of the nervous system is produced, affecting his general health to some extent, and depriving him of the ability to engage in active physical labor, and perhaps rendering him unfit to engage in his business as railroad engineer. He had retained his mental faculties to their full extent. At times he is free from pain; at others he has a soreness and pain in his back. There was no laceration of any part of his body, no fracture of any bones. There is supposed to be no injury to the bones of his spinal column. The physical or visible evidence have disappeared, and some of the physicians give it as their opinion that there will ultimately be a substantial but perhaps not a complete recovery.

Believing that the verdict is excessive, the judgment and decision of this court is, that the judgment of the district court be set aside and a new trial granted, unless the defendant in error enter a remittitur of the sum of three thousand dollars within thirty days from this date. If such remittitur is filed, the judgment to the extent of six thousand two hundred and fifty dollars will be affirmed.

Sioux City & Pacific R.R. Co. v. Finlayson, 20 N.W. 860, 866 (Neb. 1884).

Note the emphasis on the lack of any kind of visible injury — no laceration, no fracture, no apparent spinal lesions of any kind.  The court even spells it out: “The physical or visible evidence have disappeared . . . .” Although this seems clear enough, true understanding of the epistemic significance of the invisibility of the injury requires apprehension of waxing constructs of mechanical objectivity.  Or so I claim!

For any readers who will be attending AAHM14, this is the kind of evidence and theoretical frameworks on which I will be speaking.  Really, I am on the program.  I’m not joking.  This is my job!

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