Episteme 8 (2):144-164 (2011)
AbstractResponsible public policy making in a technological society must rely on complex scientific reasoning. Given that ordinary citizens cannot directly assess such reasoning, does this call the democratic legitimacy of technical public policies in question? It does not, provided citizens can make reliable second-order assessments of the consensus of trustworthy scientific experts. I develop criteria for lay assessment of scientific testimony and demonstrate, in the case of claims about anthropogenic global warming, that applying such criteria is easy for anyone of ordinary education with access to the Web. However, surveys show a gap between the scientific consensus and public opinion on global warming in the U.S. I explore some causes of this gap and argue that democratic reforms of our culture of political discourse may be able to address it.
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Citations of this work
What Is Epistemic Public Trust in Science?Gürol Irzik & Faik Kurtulmus - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1145-1166.
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References found in this work
Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry.Helen E. Longino (ed.) - 1990 - Princeton University Press.
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway - 2010 - Bloomsbury Press.
Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework.David M. Estlund - 2008 - Princeton University Press.