When experts disagree

Episteme 3 (1-2):68-79 (2006)
Alvin Goldman has criticized the idea that, when evaluating the opinions of experts who disagree, a novice should “go by the numbers”. Although Goldman is right that this is often a bad idea, his argument involves an appeal to a principle, which I call the non-independence principle, which is not in general true. Goldman's formal argument for this principle depends on an illegitimate assumption, and the examples he uses to make it seem intuitively plausible are not convincing. The failure of this principle has significant implications, not only for the issue Goldman is directly addressing, but also for the epistemology of rumors, and for our understanding of the value of epistemic independence. I conclude by using the economics literature on information cascades to highlight an important truth which Goldman's principle gestures toward, and by mounting a qualified defense of the practice of going by the numbers
Keywords expert opinion, non-independence principle, epistemology of rumors, Alvin Goldman
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DOI 10.3366/epi.2006.3.1-2.68
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References found in this work BETA
John Locke (2007). Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub. Ltd.
Alvin I. Goldman (2001). Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):85-110.

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Citations of this work BETA
Judith Simon (2010). The Entanglement of Trust and Knowledge on the Web. Ethics and Information Technology 2010 (12):343-355.

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