I reply to my critics in respect of my work on expertise. I define the 'core' of the multidisciplinary 'expertise studies'. I argue that those who have taken the work seriously could resolve their problems by paying more attention to the core. Each could have made good use of an aspect of the core.
Psychologists and philosophers tend to treat expertise as a property of special individuals. These are individuals who have devoted much more time than the general population to the acquisition of their specific expertises. They are often said to pass through stages as they move toward becoming experts, for example, passing from an early stage, in which they follow self-conscious rules, to an expert stage in which skills are executed unconsciously. This approach is ‘one-dimensional’. Here, two extra dimensions are added. They (...) are drawn from the programme known as Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) and its ‘Periodic Table of Expertises’. SEE, which is sociological, and/or Wittgensteinian, in inspiration, takes expertise to be the property of groups; there are ‘domains’ of expertise. Under SEE, level of expertise grows with embedding in the society of domain experts; the key is the transmission of domain-specific tacit knowledge. Thus, one extra dimension is degree of exposure to tacit knowledge. Under SEE, domains can be big or small so there can be ‘ubiquitous tacit knowledge’, such as natural-language-speaking or other elements of general social behaviour, which belong to every member of a society. The second extra dimension is, therefore, ‘esotericity’. The resulting three-dimensional ‘expertise-space’ can be explored in a number of ways which reveal the narrowness of the analysis and the mistakes that have been made under the one-dimensional model. (shrink)
I respond to the reviews by Henry and Lowney of my book Tacit and Explicit Knowledge. I stress the need to understand explicit knowledge if tacit knowledge is to be understood. Tacit knowledge must be divided into three kinds: relational, somatic and collective. The idea of relational tacit knowledge is keyto pulling the three kinds apart.
To become an expert in a technical domain means acquiring the tacit knowledge pertaining to the relevant domain of expertise, at least, according to the programme known as “Studies of Expertise and Experience” (SEE). We know only one way to acquire tacit knowledge and that is through some form of sustained social contact with the group that has it. Those who do not have such contact cannot acquire the expertise needed to make technical judgments. They can, however, use social expertise (...) to judge between experts or expert claims. Where social expertise is used to make technical judgments we refer to it as “transmuted expertise”. The various kinds of transmuted expertise are described and analysed. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay critically examines whether there are ethical dimensions to the way that expertise, knowledge claims, and expressions of skepticism intersect on technical matters that influence public policy, especially during times of crisis. It compares two different perspectives on the matter: a philosophical outlook rooted in discourse and virtue ethics and a sociological outlook rooted in the so-called third-wave approach to science studies. The comparison occurs through metaphilosophical analysis and applied claims that clarify how the disciplinary orientations appear to (...) lead to different judgments about matters related to Robert Paarlberg's condemnation of activists who advise African politicians to ban genetically modified food. (shrink)
I argue that it is serious mistake to treat instruments as having parity with humans in the making of scientific knowledge. I try to show why the parity view is misplaced by beginning with the “Extended Mind” thesis which can be seen as an individualistic version of Actor/ant Network Theory, and then move on to instruments. The idea of parity cannot be maintained in the face of close examination of actions as simple as doing a calculation or accepting the reading (...) of an instrument. The key difference is that humans are embedded in language communities—the locus of knowledge-making—and nothing else is. (shrink)
Recently, technology has impacted upon sports umpiring and refereeing. One effect is that the means to make sound judgments has becoe ?distributed? to new groups of people such as TV viewers and commentators. The result is that justice on the sports field is often seen not to be done and the readiness to question umpires' decisions that once pertained only to the players and, in some sports, to the crowd, has spread to anyone who has a television. What is more, (...) the questioning can now be done on good grounds. This change is explained and a way of thinking about it is put forward. The aim is to develop a theory of the relationship between human match officials and technology. Toward this end I offer a new terminology for the kinds of justice that are involved in match officiating. I argue that the introduction of new technology should be done in such a way as to maintain the justice of decisions and that justice is not the same as accuracy. Justice is best served with a restrained use of new technology. (shrink)
My claim is clear and unambiguous: no machine will pass a well-designed Turing Test unless we find some means of embedding it in lived social life. We have no idea how to do this but my argument, and all our evidence, suggests that it will not be a necessary condition that the machine have more than a minimal body. Exactly how minimal is still being worked out.
The key question in this three way debate is the role of the collectivity and of agency. Collins and Shrager debate whether cognitive psychology has, like the sociology of knowledge, always taken the mind to extend beyond the individual. They agree that irrespective of the history, socialization is key to understanding the mind and that this is compatible with Clark’s position; the novelty in Clark’s “extended mind” position appears to be the role of the material rather than the role of (...) other minds. Collins and Clark debate the relationship between self, agency, and the human collectivity. Collins argues that the Clark’s extended mind fails to stress the asymmetry of the relationship between the self and its material “scaffolding.” Clark accepts that there is asymmetry but that an asymmetrical ensemble is sufficient to explain the self. Collins says that we know too little about the material world to pursue such a model to the exclusion of other approaches including that both the collectivity and language have agency. The collectivity must be kept in mind! (Though what follows is a robust exchange of views it is also a cooperative effort, authors communicating “backstage” with each other to try to make the disagreements as clear and to the point as possible.). (shrink)
Between formal propositional knowledge and embodied skill lies ‘interactional expertise’—the ability to converse expertly about a practical skill or expertise, but without being able to practice it, learned through linguistic socialisation among the practitioners. Interactional expertise is exhibited by sociologists of scientific knowledge, by scientists themselves and by a large range of other actors. Attention is drawn to the distinction between the social and the individual embodiment theses: a language does depend on the form of the bodies of its members (...) but an individual within that community can learn the language without the body. The idea has significance for our understanding of colour-blindness, deafness and other abilities and disabilities. They say that love's a word. (shrink)
I respond to Selinger and Mix (Selinger, E. and Mix, J. 2004. On interactional expertise: Pragmatic and ontological considerations. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3: 145–163), concentrating on their charges that Collins (Collins, H. M. 2004a. Interactional expertise as a third form of knowledge. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3: 125–143) underrates the importance of interactional expertise as an expertise sui generis and that the paper fails to analyse the idea of embodiment sufficiently holistically, misleading treating the ‘body’ as no (...) more than the linear sum of its parts. (shrink)