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.
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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.
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.
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.
Frédéric Bouchard (forthcoming). The Roles of Institutional Trust and Distrust in Grounding Rational Deference to Scientific Expertise. Perspectives on Science:582-608.
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