David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 190 (7):1293-1316 (2013)
Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared knowledge among the members of the consensus community. I address the question of under what conditions it is likely that a consensus is in fact knowledge based. I argue that a consensus is likely to be knowledge based when knowledge is the best explanation of the consensus, and I identify three conditions—social calibration, apparent consilience of evidence, and social diversity, for knowledge being the best explanation of a consensus.
|Keywords||Social epistemology Knowledge Consensus Expert testimony|
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References found in this work BETA
Duncan Pritchard (2005). Epistemic Luck. Clarendon Press.
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1996/2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Helen Longino (2002). The Fate of Knowledge. Princeton University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Boaz Miller (2015). Why Knowledge is the Property of a Community and Possibly None of its Members. Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):417-441.
Kristen Intemann & Inmaculada de Melo-Martín (2014). Addressing Problems in Profit-Driven Research: How Can Feminist Conceptions of Objectivity Help? European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):135-151.
Boaz Miller (2014). Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:69-80.
Kristen Intemann & Inmaculada de Melo-Martín (2014). Are There Limits to Scientists' Obligations to Seek and Engage Dissenters? Synthese 191 (12):2751-2765.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín & Kristen Intemann (2014). Who's Afraid of Dissent?: Addressing Concerns About Undermining Scientific Consensus in Public Policy Developments. Perspectives on Science 22 (4):593-615.
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