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Judging Expert Trustworthiness: the difference between believing and following the science

Bennett, Matthew (2022) 'Judging Expert Trustworthiness: the difference between believing and following the science.' Social Epistemology: a journal of knowledge, culture and policy. ISSN 0269-1728 (In Press)

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Expert-informed public policy often depends on a certain level of public trust in the relevant expert authorities. But if lay citizens are not themselves authorities on the relevant area of expertise, how might they judge the trustworthiness of those who claim such authority? I argue that the answer to this question depends on the kind of trust under consideration. Specifically, I argue that a distinction between epistemic and recommendation trust has consequences for novices judging the trustworthiness of experts. I argue for this by identifying the unique difficulties that emerge when a novice is asked not just to believe expert testimony, but to follow expert recommendations. I outline criteria for novice judgements of expert trustworthiness that have been proposed by Elizabeth Anderson and argue that, regardless of their merits on Anderson’s own terms, novel problems emerge for her criteria when we shift focus from epistemic trust to recommendation trust. More is needed when we are asked not just to believe the experts but to act as they recommend, because novices looking for trustworthy expert recommendations need to establish whether the recommended course of action supports what is important to them and accords with their values.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 13:35
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 13:35

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