Expert testimony and epistemological free-riding: The mmr controversy

Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):496-517 (2011)
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Abstract

Using the controversy over the MMR vaccine, I consider the reasons why non-experts should defer to experts, and I sketch a model for understanding cases where they fail to defer. I first suggest that an intuitively plausible model of the expert/non-expert relationship is complicated by shifting epistemic standards. One possible moderate response to this challenge, based on a more complex notion of non-experts' relationship with experts, seems unappealing as an account of the MMR controversy. A more radical suggestion is that non-experts might have a political reason to defer to experts, when not doing so will involve ‘epistemological free-riding’. I investigate the implications

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Stephen John
Cambridge University

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.
Emotions and Distrust in Science.Katherine Furman - 2020 - Humana Mente 28 (5):713-730.

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