Social Epistemology 33 (2):160-171 (2019)

ABSTRACTIn order to properly understand how expert disagreement should be dealt with, it is essential to grasp how expert opinion is used in the reasoning process by which humans reach conclusions and make decisions. This paper utilises the tools of argumentation theory, specifically Douglas Walton’s argument schemes, and variations upon them, in order to examine how patterns of reasoning are affected by the presence of conflicting testimony. This study suggests that although it may be supplemented with the construction of epistemic hierarchies, the scheme of reasoning for the appeal to expert opinion provides no mechanism for establishing a preference for one expert statement over another, making it impossible to reach any rational conclusion as to the likely truth of the matter. Further, it is also argued that other schemes for presumptive argumentation are either unhelpful in themselves or lead to unwanted consequences.
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DOI 10.1080/02691728.2019.1577512
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Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 216-236.

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