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

Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2002 - Princeton University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1993 - Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

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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.

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