Episteme 8 (2):144-164 (2011)

Authors
Elizabeth Anderson
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
Responsible 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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DOI 10.3366/epi.2011.0013
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References found in this work BETA

Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Social Epistemology of Consensus and Dissent.Boaz Miller - 2019 - In David Henderson, Peter Graham, Miranda Fricker & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. New York: Routledge. pp. 228-237.
Understanding and Trusting Science.Matthew H. Slater, Joanna K. Huxster & Julia E. Bresticker - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (2):247-261.
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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