David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Argumentation 25 (3):355-370 (2011)
I discuss under what conditions the objection that an expert’s argument is biased by her self-interest can be a meaningful and sound argumentative move. I suggest replacing the idea of bias qua self-interest by that of a conflict of interests, exploit the distinction between an expert context and a public context, and hold that the objection can be meaningful. Yet, the evaluation is overall negative, because the motivational role of self-interest for human behavior remains unclear. Moreover, if recent social-psychological results from the “heuristics and biases” program are accepted, it is plausible to assume that humans also satisfice (rather than optimize/maximize) when identifying and then acting in their self-interest. My thesis is: insofar as the objection is sound with a particular audience, it is not needed; and insofar as the objection is needed, it is unsound.
|Keywords||Circumstantial ad hominem Ad verecundiam Personal attack Argument from expert opinion Expertise Context Bias Heuristics Conflict of interest|
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References found in this work BETA
Alvin I. Goldman (1999). Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford University Press.
Gerd Gigerenzer & Henry Brighton (2009). Homo Heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences. Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (1):107-143.
C. L. Hamblin (1970/1993). Fallacies. Vale Press.
Amartya K. Sen (1977). Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory. Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):317-344.
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