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
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.
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.
Kristen Intemann & Inmaculada de Melo-Martín (2014). Are There Limits to Scientists' Obligations to Seek and Engage Dissenters? Synthese 191 (12):2751-2765.
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 downloads389 ( #1,409 of 1,724,951 )
Recent downloads (6 months)66 ( #16,066 of 1,724,951 )
How can I increase my downloads?