Social Epistemology 34 (3):227-240 (2020)

Johnny Brennan
Fordham University
Novices face a problem when it comes to forming true beliefs about controversial issues that they cannot assess themselves: Who are the trustworthy experts? Elizabeth Anderson offers a set of criteria intended to allow novices to form reliable assessments of expert trustworthiness. All they need to assess experts is a high-school education and access to the internet. In this paper, I argue that novices face a much harder time using her criteria effectively than we would expect or hope. This problem is amplified when novices hold the wrong opinions. Such novices need her criteria the most and are the least likely to use them correctly. Such novices lack knowledge necessary for using the criteria accurately, and are likely to resist correction of their wrong opinions due to cognitive biases. After providing reasons to be skeptical of the effectiveness of her criteria, I propose some supplemental criteria to increase their effectiveness: metacognitive reliability conditions aimed at getting novices to assess themselves in the way that they assess experts. Although these additional criteria show promise, we should be reserved in our optimism.
Keywords expertise  novices  trustworthiness  metacognition
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DOI 10.1080/02691728.2019.1703056
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Echo Chambers and Epistemic Bubbles.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):141-161.
Epistemic Trespassing.Nathan Ballantyne - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):367-395.

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