The Public Impact of Denying Expertise (DEADLINE EXTENDED)

April 4, 2020
Department of Philosophy, Boston University

8 Saint Mary’s St.
Boston 02215
United States

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College of Charleston


Boston University
Boston University

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Challenges to expert opinions proliferate in the current social-political climate. Skeptics about climate change, anti-vaccine advocates, and so-called “flat-earthers” all deny the authority of scientific experts. But the social effects of denying expertise may extend beyond the relation between the public and the natural sciences. For example, persons are taken to have expertise about themselves when it comes to certain aspects of their social identities. Others deny such self-expertise. Given these issues, we may wonder: what does it mean to be an expert, epistemic or otherwise? When and how is it appropriate to understand persons as experts? How do relations of power affect the status and allocation of expertise? Does expertise have a unique epistemic, moral, or social value? Should it have this value?

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