Conference: Trust, Expert Opinion, and Policy

Submission deadline: May 1, 2017

Conference date(s):
August 31, 2017 - September 2, 2017

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

School of Philosophy, University College Dublin
Dublin, Ireland


Call for Abstracts


Trust, Expert Opinion and Policy

A multidisciplinary conference investigating questions of trust in and the trustworthiness of expert opinion

University College Dublin

August 31-September 2, 2017

The conference is organised by Professor Maria Baghramian (School of Philosophy, University College Dublin) and Professor Luke Drury (School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) as part of their Irish Research Council Project

When Experts Disagree


Conference Theme

Trust is the glue that binds our social interactions. Much of our social life, particularly in technologically advanced societies, is made possible through multi-level divisions of cognitive labour. Such divisions, in turn, lead to reliance, on part of both individuals and policy makers, on the testimony of trained experts in various fields. Indeed, a high level of trust in expert opinion is necessary for the effectiveness of this division of cognitive labour, even if such trust can never be unquestioning. A marked feature of recent political upheavals in Europe and the US is a breakdown of trust in experts. The conference aims to contribute to the understanding of the nature of trust in and the trustworthiness of experts.

The conference will address the topics of:

The nature and appropriate scope of epistemic trust

The role of testimony and its reliability for trust in experts

How more and less reliable testimony can be secured

Sources and conditions of trust and trustworthiness

The role of trust within science

Trust in science by non-scientists

The breakdown of trust in expert opinion and its impact

Trust in contested fields of expertise

The rationality of trust and its limits

The similarity and differences between trusting experts in different fields

The nature of expertise and its relation to trust

Trust and expertise regarding factual versus evaluative matters

Critical approaches to trust in expert opinion

The role of media as an intermediary between experts and the public

The ways in which new technologies, social media and the multiplication of opportunities

for anonymous communication have (re)shaped communication and freedom of expression, and their effects on placing and refusing trust

The advantages and limitations of transparency as a way of supporting the intelligent placing and refusal of trust

Cultures that reinforce and cultures that undermine the intelligent placing and refusal of trust

Key Note Speakers

Onora O’Neill (University of Cambridge, Philosophy)

Patrick Honohan (Trinity College Dublin, Economics)

Invited Speakers include

Steve Rayner (University of Oxford, Anthropology)

Gloria Origgi (Institut Jean Nicod, Philosophy)

Imelda Maher (University College Dublin, Law)

Judith Simon (University of Vienna, Philosophy)

Casey Helgeson, (CNRS, Philosophy of Science, Climate Change)

Susan Owens (University of Cambridge, Climate Science)

Anna Davies (Trinity College Dublin, Climate Science/Climate Policy)

Wendy Parker (University of Durham, Philosophy, Climate Policy)

Etienne Parizot (Paris Diderot University, Astrophysics)

Attracta Ingram (University College Dublin, Political Theory)

Rafael Alves Batista (University of Oxford, Astrophysics)

Don Ross (University College Cork, Economics/Philosophy)

We welcome papers which address the above issues from a range of fields and disciplines (not limited to): philosophy, natural sciences in general and climate science and astrophysics in particular, cognitive science, sociology, psychology, politics, and economics.

Abstracts of 500 words, for presentations lasting no longer than 30 minutes, prepared for blind refereeing, to be sent to by May 1, 2017

There are plans to publish a selection of the proceedings of the conference.

The conference is funded by the Irish Research Council and UCD Institute for Discovery

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