Negative expertise in conditions of manufactured ignorance: epistemic strategies, virtues and skills

Synthese 198 (4):3873-3891 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper is motivated by the need to respond to the spread of influential misinformation and manufactured ignorance, which places pressure on the work of experts in various sectors. To meet this need, the paper discusses the conditions required for expert testimony to evolve a reconceptualisation of negative capability as a new form of epistemic humility. In this regard, professional knowledge formation is not considered to be separate from the institutional and social processes and values that uphold its production. Drawing attention to the structural and relational aspects of ignorance, as opposed to the individualistic and internal aspects, we rely on the sociology of knowledge, the social epistemologies and the feminist epistemologies that have played a fundamental role in the development of the investigation of ignorance. First, we analyse the criteria for epistemic humility based on prior theoretical discussions concerning negative knowledge as a form of reflective practice. Then, we seek to determine what kinds of strategies, virtues and skills experts need to have so as to ‘manage ignorance’ in socially complex situations. Finally, we suggest the reformulation of negative expertise as a phronetic skill for navigating through situations of ignorance and uncertainty in an epistemically and socially responsible manner.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,712

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Culpable ignorance in a collective setting.Säde Hormio - 2018 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:7-34.
What is an expert?Bruce D. Weinstein - 1993 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (1).
Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition.Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Negative knowledge, expertise and organisations.Jaana Parviainen & Marja Eriksson - 2006 - International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 2 (2):140.
The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance.Rik Peels & Martijn Blaauw (eds.) - 2016 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Navigating Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classes.Alison Bailey - 2014 - Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 14 (1):3-7.
Inan on Objectual and Propositional Ignorance.Erhan Demircioglu - 2016 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 16 (3):305-311.
Toward a revaluation of ignorance.Cynthia Townley - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (3):37 - 55.
When Ignorance is No Excuse.Maria Alvarez & Clayton Littlejohn - 2017 - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 64-81.


Added to PP

49 (#245,334)

6 months
8 (#115,608)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?