David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Beatty (2006). Masking Disagreement Among Experts. Episteme 3 (1-2):52-67.
Yemima Ben-Menahem (1988). Models of Science: Fictions or Idealizations? Science in Context 2 (1).
Yemima Ben-Menahem (1990). The Inference to the Best Explanation. Erkenntnis 33 (3):319-44.
Kirstin Borgerson (2009). Valuing Evidence: Bias and the Evidence Hierarchy of Evidence-Based Medicine. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (2):218-233.
Anjan Chakravartty (2007). A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Boaz Miller (forthcoming). Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
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.
Similar books and articles
Aviezer Tucker (2003). The Epistemic Significance of Consensus. Inquiry 46 (4):501 – 521.
Boaz Miller (forthcoming). Scientific Consensus and Expert Testimony in Courts Lessons From the Bendectin Litigation. Foundations of Science:1-19.
Peter Caws (1991). Committees and Consensus: How Many Heads Are Better Than One? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (4):375-391.
Theresa Waynand Tobin (2005). The Non-Modularity of Moral Knowledge. Social Philosophy Today 21:33-50.
Bruce Jennings (1991). Possibilities of Consensus: Toward Democratic Moral Discourse. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (4):447-463.
Robin Hanson (1998). Consensus By Identifying Extremists. Theory and Decision 44 (3):293-301.
Kyung-Man Kim (1996). Hierarchy of Scientific Consensus and the Flow of Dissensus Over Time. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 26 (1):3-25.
Herbert Keuth (1979). Erkenntnis Oder Entscheidung? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 10 (2):375-393.
Jonathan D. Moreno (1988). Ethics by Committee: The Moral Authority of Consensus. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 13 (4):411-432.
Nebojša Zelić (2009). Overlapping Consensus. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):101-115.
Miriam Solomon (2001). Consensus in Science. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:193-204.
Robert M. Veatch (1991). Consensus of Expertise: The Role of Consensus of Experts in Formulating Public Policy and Estimating Facts. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (4):427-445.
Georgia Warnke (1985). Hermeneneutics and the Social Sciences: A Gadamerian Critique of Rorty. Inquiry 28 (1-4):339 – 357.
Marjorie C. Dobratz (2010). A Model of Consensus Formation for Reconciling Nursing's Disciplinary Matrix. Nursing Philosophy 11 (1):53-66.
Added to index2012-10-06
Total downloads368 ( #1,262 of 1,700,307 )
Recent downloads (6 months)67 ( #3,422 of 1,700,307 )
How can I increase my downloads?