Emanuel Tucsa

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Dissertation Title: How Will I Know? An Epistemology of Legal Ethics

Dissertation Topic:

I am studying the application of virtue epistemology to the field of legal ethics. Virtue epistemology applies Aristotelian ways of thinking about ethics to the study of knowledge. Thus, a virtue epistemologist would ask what it means to be epistemically virtuous, i.e. virtuous with respect to the production of knowledge.

Lawyers have roles and duties in knowledge production in legal systems. These roles and duties arise everywhere from contexts such as litigation (relating to keeping confidentiality, presenting evidence, examining witnesses, etc.) to negotiation and mediation (where lawyers also often control and influence the flow of information). These epistemic roles and duties come with roughly concordant ethical roles and duties. I am looking into the ways in which approaching the roles and duties of lawyers from the perspective of knowledge production can enrich the philosophical and ethical picture that we have of lawyers.

In furtherance of this approach, I am developing an epistemic model of lawyering that I call “epistemic partisanship”, which I apply in my dissertation to lawyers’ practice of the epistemic virtue of honesty. Epistemic partisanship defines the virtuous mean between epistemic vices in my role-differentiated epistemology of lawyering. I refer to a cluster of related terms – honesty, discretion, and candour – that all have the common theme of sharing information in virtuous ways (e.g. honesty) and which also sit between vices related to failing to disclose information, on the one hand, and sharing information too freely (e.g. dishonesty and being honest to a fault or hyper-honesty), on the other hand.


  • Masters of Law (LLM) - Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Juris Doctor (JD) - Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Honours Bachelor of Arts – Major in Philosophy, Minor in Political Science, Minor in French as a Second Language - University of Toronto

Teaching Experience

  • Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (September 2014-Present) - Teaching Assistant, Ethical Lawyering in a Global Community
  • Department of Social Science, York University (September 2014-Present) - Teaching Assistant, Introductory Socio-legal Studies
  • University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (November 7, 2016) - Guest Lecture, Legal Ethics and Lawyer Regulation


  • Nominated by the Department of Social Science for Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching in the Teaching Assistant Category, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University (2017)
  • Harley D. Hallett Graduate Scholarship (2014)
  • McMillan Binch Entrance Scholarship (2008)


  • “Honesty & Truth in Lawyering” (Canadian Association for Legal Ethics Annual Meeting & Conference, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 27 October 2017)
  • “An Epistemology for Legal Ethics – The Need for Intellectually Virtuous Lawyers” (International Legal Ethics Conference VII, Fordham University School of Law, New York City, United States of America, 14 July 2016)
  • “Adversaries & Virtue – The Insights that Intellectual Virtues Provide into the Adversarial System and Models of Lawyering” (Canadian Association for Legal Ethics Annual Meeting & Conference, Université de Montréal Faculty of Law, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 23 October 2015)
  • “Practicing Lawyers & Philosophers – Mutually Supporting Perspectives on Legal Ethics” (Canadian Association for Legal Ethics Annual Meeting & Conference, Western University Faculty of Law, London, Ontario, Canada, 25 October 2014)
  • “Knowledge & Fidelity: Considering the Relationship between the Lawyer's Role in Making Knowledge about Law Available and the Lawyer’s Duty of Fidelity to Law” (International Legal Ethics Conference VI, City University of London, City Law School, London, UK, 12 July 2014)
  • “Conceptions of Objectivity – Understanding the Nature of Morality for the Purpose of Doing Legal Ethics” (Canadian Association for Legal Ethics Annual Meeting & Conference, University of Saskatchewan College of Law, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 26 October 2013)
  • “Lawyering against Legality – A Consideration of the OLC ‘Torture Memos’ Through the Lens of the Legal Theory of Lon Fuller” (International Legal Ethics Conference V, University of Calgary Faculty of Law, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 13 July 2012)