Consensus of expertise: The role of consensus of experts in formulating public policy and estimating facts

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (4):427-445 (1991)
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Abstract

For years analysts have recognized the error of assuming that experts in medical science are also experts in deciding the clinically correct course for patients. This paper extends the analysis of the use of the consensus of experts to their use in public policy groups such as NIH Consensus Development panels. After arguing that technical experts cannot be expected to be expert on public policy decisions, the author extends the criticism to the use of the consensus of experts in estimating facts to provide a basis for policy decisions. It is argued that to the extent that (a) experts' views regarding a body of facts can be expected to correlate with their values relevant to those facts; and (b) the values of experts differ from the values of lay people, even the estimates of the facts given by the consensus of expert panels can be expected to differ from the estimates lay people would have given had they had the relevant scientific expertise. Keywords: consensus, expertise, fact/value distinction, NIH Consensus Development Panels CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?

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