The Shoulders of Giants: A Case for Non-veritism about Expert Authority

Topoi 37 (1):39-53 (2018)
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Among social epistemologists, having a certain proportion of reliably formed beliefs in a subject matter is widely regarded as a necessary condition for cognitive expertise. This condition is motivated by the idea that expert testimony puts subjects in a better position than non-expert testimony to obtain knowledge about a subject matter. I offer three arguments showing that veritism is an inadequate account of expert authority because the reliable access condition renders expertise incapable of performing its social role. I then develop an alternative explanation of expert authority that I call the epistemic facility account, arguing that having a certain type of competence in a subject matter or domain of subject matters is sufficient for explaining expert authority while avoiding the problems with veritistic accounts.



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Jamie Watson
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

References found in this work

The structure of empirical knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Knowledge and its place in nature.Hilary Kornblith - 2002 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Rethinking Expertise.Harry Collins & Robert Evans - 2007 - University of Chicago Press.

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