Synthese 190 (7):1293-1316 (2013)

Authors
Boaz Miller
Zefat Academic College
Abstract
Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared knowledge among the members of the consensus community. I address the question of under what conditions it is likely that a consensus is in fact knowledge based. I argue that a consensus is likely to be knowledge based when knowledge is the best explanation of the consensus, and I identify three conditions—social calibration, apparent consilience of evidence, and social diversity, for knowledge being the best explanation of a consensus
Keywords Social epistemology  Knowledge  Consensus  Expert testimony
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0225-5
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem - 1954 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Sins of Inquiry: How to Criticize Scientific Pursuits.Marina DiMarco & Kareem Khalifa - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:86-96.
Policymaking Under Scientific Uncertainty.Joe Roussos - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics

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