Argumentation 25 (3):313-327 (2011)

Authors
Hugo Mercier
Institut Jean Nicod
Abstract
Expert reasoning is responsible for some of the most stunning human achievements, but also for some of the most disastrous decisions ever made. The argumentative theory of reasoning has proven very effective at explaining the pattern of reasoning’s successes and failures. In the present article, it is expanded to account for expert reasoning. The argumentative theory predicts that reasoning should display a strong confirmation bias. If argument quality is not sufficiently high in a domain, the confirmation bias will make experts tap into their vast knowledge to defend whatever opinion they hold, with polarization and overconfidence as expected results. By contrast, experts should benefit even more from the power of group discussion to make the best of the confirmation bias—when they genuinely disagree that is, otherwise polarization is again likely to ensue. When experts interact with laymen other mechanisms can take the lead, in particular trust calibration and consistency checking. They can yield poor outcomes if experts do not have a sustained interaction with laymen, or if the laymen have strong opinions when they witness a debate between experts. Seeing reasoning as a mechanism of epistemic vigilance aimed at finding and evaluating arguments helps make better sense of expert reasoning performance, be it in individual ratiocination, in debates with other experts, or in interactions with laymen
Keywords Argumentation  Reasoning  Expertise  Group decision making
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DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9222-y
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References found in this work BETA

Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.
A Theory of Implicit and Explicit Knowledge.Zoltan Dienes & Josef Perner - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):735-808.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What Good is Moral Reasoning?Hugo Mercier - 2011 - Mind and Society 10 (2):131-148.
Epistemic Democracy and the Role of Experts.Cathrine Holst & Anders Molander - 2019 - Contemporary Political Theory 18 (4):541-561.
Looking for Arguments.Hugo Mercier - 2012 - Argumentation 26 (3):305-324.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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