A new pragmatic approach, based on the latest developments in argumentation theory, analyzing appeal to expert opinion as a form of argument. Reliance on authority has always been a common recourse in argumentation, perhaps never more so than today in our highly technological society when knowledge has become so specialized—as manifested, for instance, in the frequent appearance of "expert witnesses" in courtrooms. When is an appeal to the opinion of an expert a reasonable type of argument to make, and when (...) does it become a fallacy? This book provides a method for the evaluation of these appeals in everyday argumentation. Specialized domains of knowledge such as science, medicine, law, and government policy have gradually taken over as the basis on which many of our rational decisions are made daily. Consequently, appeal to expert opinion in these areas has become a powerful type of argument. Challenging an argument based on expert scientific opinion, for example, has become as difficult as it once was to question religious authority. Walton stresses that even in cases where expert opinion is divided, the effect of it can still be so powerful that it overwhelms an individual's ability to make a decision based on personal deliberation of what is right or wrong in a given situation. The book identifies the requirements that make an appeal to expert opinion a reasonable or unreasonable argument. Walton's new pragmatic approach analyzes that appeal as a distinctive form of argument, with an accompanying set of appropriate critical questions matching the form. Throughout the book, a historical survey of the key developments in the evolution of the argument from authority, dating from the time of the ancients, is given, and new light is shed on current problems of "junk science" and battles between experts in legal argumentation. (shrink)
Expert testimony figures in recent debates over how best to understand the norm of assertion and the domain-specific epistemic expectations placed on testifiers. Cases of experts asserting with only isolated second-hand knowledge (Lackey 2011, 2013) have been used to shed light on whether knowledge is sufficient for epistemically permissible assertion. I argue that relying on such cases of expert testimony introduces several problems concerning how we understand expert knowledge, and the sharing of such knowledge through testimony. Refinements are needed (...) to clarify exactly what principles are being tested by such cases; but once refined, such cases raise more questions than they answer. (shrink)
Background: The castor bean is a large grassy or semi-wooden shrub or small tree. Any part of the castor plant parts can suffering from a disease that weakens the ability to grow and eliminates its production. Therefore, in this paper will identify the pests and diseases present in castor culture and detect the symptoms in each disease. Also images is showing the symptom form in this disease. Objectives: The main objective of this expert system is to obtain appropriate diagnosis of (...) the disease. Methods: In this paper, the expert system is designed for the ability of agricultural engineers to detect and diagnose disease of castor like as: seeding blight, alternaria blight, cercospora leaf spot, powdery mildew and wilt. This system presents the disease symptoms, survival and spread, favorable conditions and image for each disease. Clips and Delphi expert system languages are used for designing and implementing the proposed expert system. Results: The expert system in the diagnosis of castor diseases was assessed by farmers and agricultural engineers and they were satisfied and accepted with its quality of performance. Conclusions: The expert system is easy for farmers and people have experience in the plant of castor to detect and diagnosis the symptoms that may face this plant from several disease. (shrink)
Mainstream epistemology is a highly theoretical and abstract enterprise. Traditional epistemologists rarely present their deliberations as critical to the practical problems of life, unless one supposes—as Hume, for example, did not—that skeptical worries should trouble us in our everyday affairs. But some issues in epistemology are both theoretically interesting and practically quite pressing. That holds of the problem to be discussed here: how laypersons should evaluate the testimony of experts and decide which of two or more rival experts (...) is most credible. It is of practical importance because in a complex, highly specialized world people are constantly confronted with situations in which, as comparative novices, they must turn to putative experts for intellectual guidance or assistance. It is of theoretical interest because the appropriate epistemic considerations are far from transparent; and it is not clear how far the problems lead to insurmountable skeptical quandaries. This paper does not argue for flat-out skepticism in this domain; nor, on the other hand, does it purport to resolve all pressures in the direction of skepticism. It is an exploratory paper, which tries to identify problems and examine some possible solutions, not to establish those solutions definitively. (shrink)
Background: With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the levels of pollution grow significantly. This Technological development contributed to the worsening of shortness breath problems in great shape. especially in infants and children. There are many shortness breath diseases that infants and children face in their lives. Shortness of breath is one of a very serious symptom in children and infants and should never be ignored. Objectives: Along these lines, the main goal of this expert system is to help physician (...) in diagnosing and describe some common causes of shortness of breath in infants and children by diagnosing their cases through our expert system. Moreover, this system which we are presenting will give patient the appropriate diagnosis of disease and the treatment required. Methods: In this paper the strategy of the expert system for diagnosing a number of the existed shortness of breath in infants and children diseases such as (Asthma , Bronchiolitis, Viral Pneumonia, cough, Shortness of breath' dyspnea ', Epiglottitis, Croup, ABSCESS in the tonsil 'peritonsillar abscess', Bronchitis, Viral Bronchitis, Wheezing, sudden infant death syndrome 'SIDS' ) is introduced, an overview about the shortness of breath in children and infants diseases are delineated, the cause of diseases are sketched and the treatment of disease whenever conceivable is given . SL5 Object Expert System language was utilized for designing and implementing the proposed expert system. Results: The proposed shortness of breath in children and infants diseases diagnosis expert system was estimated by Medical students and they were satisfied with its result. Conclusions: The Proposed expert system is very useful for Respiratory physician, pediatrician, recently graduated physician, and for children's parents with shortness of breath problem. (shrink)
Background: Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given (...) year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. Objectives: The main goal of this expert system is to get the appropriate diagnosis of disease and the correct treatment and give the appropriate method of treatment through several tips that concern the disease and how to treat it and we will see it through the application on the expert system. Methods: in this paper the design of the proposed Expert System which was produced to help Psychologist in diagnosing depression disease through its symptoms such as: a loss of energy, a change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The proposed expert system presents an overview about depression disease is given, the cause of diseases is outlined and the treatment of disease whenever possible is given out. SL5 Object Expert System language was used for designing and implementing the proposed expert system. Results: The proposed depression disease diagnosis expert system was evaluated by psychologist students and they were satisfied with its performance. Conclusions: The Proposed expert system is very useful for psychologist, patients with depression and newly graduated psychologist. (shrink)
The truth of every human being is the end his life with death, and this leads to leaving assets and funds for those after him and can lead to hate between the heirs, it has made a point of Islamic law on all aspects of life, including the subject of the inheritance of the deceased. The main problem is how to get the knowledge of the basics of inheritance. This paper reviews work done in the use of expert system software (...) to calculate inheritance in Islam. A proposed expert system was designed and developed using CLIPS language to calculate the inheritance in Islam. (shrink)
It is often suggested that disagreement among scientific experts is a reason not to trust those experts, even about matters on which they are in agreement. In direct opposition to this view, I argue here that the very fact that there is disagreement among experts on a given issue provides a positive reason for non-experts to trust that the experts really are justified in their attitudes towards consensus theories. I show how this line of thought (...) can be spelled out in three distinct frameworks for non-deductive reasoning: namely, Bayesian Confirmation Theory, Inference to the Best Explanation, and Inferential Robustness Analysis. (shrink)
While courts depend on expert opinions in reaching sound judgments, the role of the expert witness in legal proceedings is associated with a litany of problems. Perhaps most prevalent is the question of under what circumstances should testimony be admitted as expert opinion. We review the changing policies adopted by American courts in an attempt to ensure the reliability and usefulness of the scientific and technical information admitted as evidence. We argue that these admissibility criteria are best seen in a (...) dialectical context as a set of critical questions of the kind commonly used in models of argumentation. (shrink)
Background: Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common (...) among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. Objectives: The main goal of this expert system is to get the appropriate diagnosis of disease and the correct treatment and give the appropriate method of treatment through several tips that concern the disease and how to treat it and we will see it through the application on the expert system. Methods: in this paper the design of the proposed Expert System which was produced to help Orthopedist in diagnosing Arthritis disease through its symptoms such as: pain on pressure in a joint , Inflammation indicated by joint swelling, Stiffness especially in the morning , Loss of flexibility of joint, Limited, joint movement, Deformity of the joints , Weight loss and fatigue , Non-specific fever and Crepitus. The proposed expert system presents an overview about Arthritis disease is given, the cause of diseases is outlined and the treatment of disease whenever possible is given out. SL5 Object Expert System language was used for designing and implementing the proposed expert system. Results: The proposed Arthritis disease diagnosis expert system was evaluated by Orthopedics students and they were satisfied with its performance. Conclusions: The Proposed expert system is very useful for Orthopedist, patients with arthritis and newly graduated Orthopedics students. (shrink)
Climate change adaptation is largely a local matter, and adaptation planning can benefit from local climate change projections. Such projections are typically generated by accepting climate model outputs in a relatively uncritical way. We argue, based on the IPCC’s treatment of model outputs from the CMIP5 ensemble, that this approach is unwarranted and that subjective expert judgment should play a central role in the provision of local climate change projections intended to support decision-making.
This paper focuses on the phenomenon of forming one’s judgement about epistemic matters, such as whether one has some reason not to believe false propositions, on the basis of the opinion of somebody one takes to be an expert about them. The paper pursues three aims. First, it argues that some cases of expert deference about epistemic matters are suspicious. Secondly, it provides an explanation of such a suspiciousness. Thirdly, it draws the metaepistemological implications of the proposed explanation.
Chest pain is the pain felt in the chest by infants, children and adolescents. In most cases the pain is not associated with the heart. It is mainly recognized by the observance or report of pain by the infant, child or adolescent by reports of distress by parents or care givers. Chest pain is not unusual in children. Lots of children are seen in ambulatory clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals and cardiology clinics. Usually there is a benign cause for the (...) pain for utmost children. Certain patients have conditions that are serious and perhaps life-threatening. Chest pain in pediatric patients needs careful physical examination and a detailed history that would point to the possibility of a serious cause. Researches of pediatric chest pain are scarce. It has been difficult to create evidence-based guidelines for evaluation. In this paper we propose an expert system to help doctors and parents, and care giver in diagnosing chest pain in infants and children. This expert System is design and implemented in SL5 Object language. (shrink)
This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in action as (...) well as other defects of agency, explain cases of skilled agency and sharpen questions about the role of thought in agency. This provides for a different orientation in the theory of action. (shrink)
According to a recent account of epistemic authority proposed by Linda Zagzebski (2012), it is rational for laypersons to believe on authority when they conscientiously judge that the authority is more likely to form true beliefs and avoid false ones than they are in some domain. Christoph Jäger (2016) has recently raised several objections to her view. By contrast, I argue that both theories fail to adequately capture what epistemic authority is, and I offer an alternative account grounded in the (...) abilities that different kinds of authorities are required to possess. (shrink)
Alvin Goldman has criticized the idea that, when evaluating the opinions of experts who disagree, a novice should “go by the numbers”. Although Goldman is right that this is often a bad idea, his argument involves an appeal to a principle, which I call the non-independence principle, which is not in general true. Goldman's formal argument for this principle depends on an illegitimate assumption, and the examples he uses to make it seem intuitively plausible are not convincing. The failure (...) of this principle has significant implications, not only for the issue Goldman is directly addressing, but also for the epistemology of rumors, and for our understanding of the value of epistemic independence. I conclude by using the economics literature on information cascades to highlight an important truth which Goldman's principle gestures toward, and by mounting a qualified defense of the practice of going by the numbers. (shrink)
Does the scope of beliefs that people can form on the basis of perception remain fixed, or can it be amplified with learning? The answer to this question is important for our understanding of why and when we ought to trust experts, and also for assessing the plausibility of epistemic foundationalism. The empirical study of perceptual expertise suggests that experts can indeed enrich their perceptual experiences through learning. Yet this does not settle the epistemic status of their beliefs. (...) One might hold that the background knowledge of experts is the cause of their enriched perceptual experience – what is known as cognitive permeation – and so their subsequent beliefs are only mediately justified because they are epistemically dependent on this background knowledge. I argue against this view. Perceptual expertise is not the result of cognitive permeation but is rather the result of perceptual learning, and perceptual learning does not involve cognition in a way that entails cognitive permeation. Perceptual expertise thus provides a means of widening the scope of the immediately justified beliefs that experts can form. (shrink)
We sometimes seek expert guidance when we don’t know what to think or do about a problem. In challenging cases concerning medical ethics, we may seek a clinical ethics consultation for guidance. The assumption is that the bioethicist, as an expert on ethical issues, has knowledge and skills that can help us better think about the problem and improve our understanding of what to do regarding the issue. The widespread practice of ethics consultations raises these questions and more: -/- • (...) What would it take to be a moral expert? • Is anyone a moral expert, and if so, how could a non-expert identify one? • Is it in any way problematic to accept and follow the advice of a moral expert as opposed to coming to moral conclusions on your own? • What should we think and do when moral experts disagree about a practical ethical issue? -/- In what follows, we address these theoretical and practical questions about moral expertise. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze four so-called “principles of expertise”; that is, good epistemic practices that are normatively motivated by the epistemological literature on expert judgment. I highlight some of the problems that the four principles of expertise run into, when we try to implement them in concrete contexts of application (e.g. in science committees). I suggest some possible alternatives and adjustments to the principles, arguing in general that the epistemology of expertise should be informed both by case studies and (...) by the literature on the use of experts in science practice. (shrink)
Since the 1960s, scientists, engineers, and healthcare professionals have developed brain–computer interface (BCI) technologies, connecting the user’s brain activity to communication or motor devices. This new technology has also captured the imagination of publics, industry, and ethicists. Academic ethics has highlighted the ethical challenges of BCIs, although these conclusions often rely on speculative or conceptual methods rather than empirical evidence or public engagement. From a social science or empirical ethics perspective, this tendency could be considered problematic and even technocratic because (...) of its disconnect from publics. In response, our trinational survey (Germany, Canada, and Spain) reports public attitudes toward BCIs (N = 1,403) on ethical issues that were carefully derived from academic ethics literature. The results show moderately high levels of concern toward agent-related issues (e.g., changing the user’s self) and consequence-related issues (e.g., new forms of hacking). Both facets of concern were higher among respondents who reported as female or as religious, while education, age, own and peer disability, and country of residence were associated with either agent-related or consequence-related concerns. These findings provide a first look at BCI attitudes across three national contexts, suggesting that the language and content of academic BCI ethics may resonate with some publics and their values. (shrink)
It is often taken for granted that the professional–patient relationship is one of trust, particularly given that these clinicians are “experts” in their clinical domain. Nonetheless, trusting grants discretionary powers to the trustee, making the truster vulnerable to the trustee (Rogers and Ballantyne 2008). In particular, some patient groups carry certain social vulnerabilities that can be exacerbated when they extend trust to health-care providers (HCPs). Informed by the feminist literature on epistemic hierarchy and oppression, this paper examines how calls (...) to trust may increase epistemic injustice and perpetuate the vulnerability and disablement of a particular group: people with impairments. This paper uses .. (shrink)
Scientific expert testimony is crucial to public deliberation, but it is associated with many pitfalls. This article identifies one—namely, expert trespassing testimony—which may be characterized, crudely, as the phenomenon of experts testifying outside their domain of expertise. My agenda is to provide a more precise characterization of this phenomenon and consider its ramifications for the role of science in society. I argue that expert trespassing testimony is both epistemically problematic and morally problematic. Specifically, I will argue that scientific (...) class='Hi'>experts are subject to a particular obligation. Roughly, this is the obligation to qualify their assertions when speaking outside their domain of scientific expertise in certain contexts. Thus, I argue that scientists who possess expert knowledge are confronted with hard questions about when and how to testify and, therefore, that being a scientific expert comes with great responsibility. Consequently, I provide a concrete “expert guideline” according to which scientific experts, in certain contexts, face an obligation to qualify their assertions when speaking outside their domain of expertise. Furthermore, I consider a number of the conditions in which the guideline is waived or overridden. On this basis, I consider the broader aspects of the roles of scientific experts in a society with a high division of cognitive labor that calls for trust in scientific expert testimony. (shrink)
Codes of ethics currently offer no guidance to scientists acting in capacity of expert. Yet communicating their expertise is one of the most important activities of scientists. Here I argue that expert communication has a specifically ethical dimension, and that experts must face a fundamental trade-off between "actionability" and "transparency" when communicating. Some recommendations for expert communication are suggested.
I discuss under what conditions the objection that an expert’s argument is biased by her self-interest can be a meaningful and sound argumentative move. I suggest replacing the idea of bias qua self-interest by that of a conflict of interests, exploit the distinction between an expert context and a public context, and hold that the objection can be meaningful. Yet, the evaluation is overall negative, because the motivational role of self-interest for human behavior remains unclear. Moreover, if recent social-psychological results (...) from the “heuristics and biases” program are accepted, it is plausible to assume that humans also satisfice (rather than optimize/maximize) when identifying and then acting in their self-interest. My thesis is: insofar as the objection is sound with a particular audience, it is not needed; and insofar as the objection is needed, it is unsound. (shrink)
Academics across widely ranging disciplines all pursue knowledge, but they do so using vastly different methods. Do these academics therefore also have different ideas about when someone possesses knowledge? Recent experimental findings suggest that intuitions about when individuals have knowledge may vary across groups; in particular, the concept of knowledge espoused by the discipline of philosophy may not align with the concept held by laypeople. Across two studies, we investigate the concept of knowledge held by academics across seven disciplines (N (...) = 1,581) and compare these judgments to those of philosophers (N = 204) and laypeople (N = 336). We find that academics and laypeople share a similar concept of knowledge, while philosophers have a substantially different concept. These experiments show that (a) in contrast to philosophers, other academics and laypeople attribute knowledge to others in some “Gettier” situations; (b) academics and laypeople are much less likely to attribute knowledge when reminded of the possibility of error, but philosophers are not affected by this reminder; and (c) non‐philosophy academics are overall more skeptical about knowledge than laypeople or philosophers. These findings suggest that academics across a wide range of disciplines share a similar concept of knowledge, and that this concept aligns closely with the intuitions held by laypeople, and differs considerably from the concept of knowledge described in the philosophical literature, as well as the epistemic intuitions of philosophers themselves. (shrink)
A theory of aesthetic value should explain the performance of aesthetic experts, for aesthetic experts are agents who track aesthetic value. Aesthetic empiricism, the theory that an item's aesthetic value is its power to yield aesthetic pleasure, suggests that aesthetic experts are best at locating aesthetic pleasure, especially given aesthetic internalism, the view that aesthetic reasons always have motivating force. Problems with empiricism and internalism open the door to an alternative. Aesthetic experts perform a range of (...) actions not aimed at pleasure. Yet their reasons for acting are aesthetic. Since aesthetic values figure in aesthetic reasons, we can read a nonempiricist theory of aesthetic value off aesthetic experts’ reasons for acting. (shrink)
What are experts? Are there only experts in a subjective sense or are there also experts in an objective sense? And how, if at all, may non-experts recognize experts in an objective sense? In this paper, I approach these important questions by discussing Alvin I. Goldman's thoughts about how to define objective epistemic authority and about how non-experts are able to identify experts. I argue that a multiple epistemic desiderata approach is superior to (...) Goldman's purely veritistic approach. (shrink)
According to an influential Enlightenment ideal, one shouldn't rely epistemically on other people's say-so, at least not if one is in a position to evaluate the relevant evidence for oneself. However, in much recent work in social epistemology, we are urged to dispense with this ideal, which is seen as stemming from a misguided focus on isolated individuals to the exclusion of groups and communities. In this paper, I argue that that an emphasis on the social nature of inquiry should (...) not lead us to entirely abandon the Enlightenment ideal of epistemically autonomous agents. Specifically, I suggest that it is an appropriate ideal for those who serve as experts in a given epistemic community, and develop a notion of expert acceptance to make sense of this. I go on to show that, all other things being equal, this kind of epistemic autonomy among experts makes their joint testimony more reliable, which in turn brings epistemic benefits both to laypeople and to experts in other fields. (shrink)
Using the controversy over the MMR vaccine, I consider the reasons why non-experts should defer to experts, and I sketch a model for understanding cases where they fail to defer. I first suggest that an intuitively plausible model of the expert/non-expert relationship is complicated by shifting epistemic standards. One possible moderate response to this challenge, based on a more complex notion of non-experts' relationship with experts, seems unappealing as an account of the MMR controversy. A more (...) radical suggestion is that non-experts might have a political reason to defer to experts, when not doing so will involve ‘epistemological free-riding’. I investigate the implications. (shrink)
There is great skepticism about the admittance of expert normative ethics testimony into evidence. However, a practical analysis of the way ethics testimony has been used in courts of law reveals that the skeptical position is itself based on assumptions that are controversial. We argue for an alternative way to understand such expert testimony. This alternative understanding is based on the practice of clinical ethics.
Recent experimental philosophy arguments have raised trouble for philosophers' reliance on armchair intuitions. One popular line of response has been the expertise defense: philosophers are highly-trained experts, whereas the subjects in the experimental philosophy studies have generally been ordinary undergraduates, and so there's no reason to think philosophers will make the same mistakes. But this deploys a substantive empirical claim, that philosophers' training indeed inculcates sufficient protection from such mistakes. We canvass the psychological literature on expertise, which indicates that (...) people are not generally very good at reckoning who will develop expertise under what circumstances. We consider three promising hypotheses concerning what philosophical expertise might consist in: (i) better conceptual schemata; (ii) mastery of entrenched theories; and (iii) general practical know-how with the entertaining of hypotheticals. On inspection, none seem to provide us with good reason to endorse this key empirical premise of the expertise defense. (shrink)
Recently psychologists and experimental philosophers have reported findings showing that in some cases ordinary people's moral intuitions are affected by factors of dubious relevance to the truth of the content of the intuition. Some defend the use of intuition as evidence in ethics by arguing that philosophers are the experts in this area, and philosophers' moral intuitions are both different from those of ordinary people and more reliable. We conducted two experiments indicating that philosophers and non-philosophers do indeed sometimes (...) have different moral intuitions, but challenging the notion that philosophers have better or more reliable intuitions. (shrink)
Written in a highly readable, irreverent style, The Elm and the Expert provides a lively discussion of semantic issues about mental representation, with special attention to issues raised by Frege's problem, Twin cases, and the putative indeterminacy of reference. Bound to be widely read and much discussed, The Elm and the Expert, written in Jerry Fodor's usual highly readable, irreverent style, provides a lively discussion of semantic issues about mental representation, with special attention to issues raised by Frege's problem, Twin (...) cases, and the putative indeterminacy of reference. The book extends and revises a view of the relation between mind and meaning that the author has been developing since his 1975 book, The Language of Thought. There is a general consensus among philosophers that a referential semantics for mental representation cannot support a robust account of intentional explanation. Fodor has himself espoused this view in previous publications, and it is widespread (if tacit) throughout the cognitive science community. This book is largely a reconsideration of the arguments that are supposed to ground this consensus. Fodor concludes that these considerations are far less decisive than has been supposed. He offers a theory sketch in which psychological explanation is intentional, psychological processes are computational, and the semantic properties of mental representations are referential. Connections with the problem of naturalizing intentionality are also explored. The four lectures in The Elm and the Expert were originally delivered in Paris in the spring of 1993 to inaugurate the Jean Nicod Lecture series. The Jean Nicod Lectures are delivered annually by a leading philosopher of mind or philosophically oriented cognitive scientist. The 1993 lectures marked the centenary of the birth of the French philosopher and logician Jean Nicod (1893-1931). The lectures are sponsored by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as part of its effort to develop the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science in France. Jean Nicod series. (shrink)
.This paper critiques particular aspects of the published UK government Department of Health’s proposal to promote ‘The Expert Patient’ as a way of enhancing patient autonomy and reducing reliance on limited health care resources. Although the broad aims of the report are supported the detail is criticised on the basis that lack of clarity over key terms, including ‘expert’ ‘illness’ and ‘disease’, means that there is no clear focus for action and threatens to undermine the effectiveness of the proposals.
Expert-informed public policy often depends on a degree of public trust in the relevant expert authorities. But if lay citizens are not themselves authorities on the relevant area of expertise, how can they make good judgements about the trustworthiness of those who claim such authority? I argue that the answer to this question depends on the kind of trust under consideration. Specifically, I maintain that a distinction between epistemic trust and recommendation trust has consequences for novices judging the trustworthiness of (...)experts. I argue for this by identifying the unique difficulties that emerge when a novice is asked not just to believe expert testimony, but to follow expert recommendations. I outline criteria for novice judgements of expert trustworthiness that have been proposed by Elizabeth Anderson and show that novel problems emerge for her criteria when we shift focus from epistemic trust to recommendation trust. More is needed when we are asked not just to believe the experts but to act as they recommend, because novices looking for trustworthy expert recommendations need to establish whether the recommended course of action supports what is important to them and accords with their values. (shrink)
.The United Kingdom Department of Health initiative on “The Expert Patient” reflects recent trends in political philosophy, ethics and health services research. The overall objective of the initiative is to encourage patients, particularly those suffering from chronic conditions to become more actively involved in decisions concerning their treatment. In doing so there would be an expectation of better patient compliance and a resultant improvement in quality of life. Despite these anticipated beneficial influences on health outcomes, there may be a danger (...) that such initiatives are being carried along by the general swell of enthusiasm for recognising and facilitating the claims of disadvantaged or discriminated against groups. What more attractive than that patients should be “liberated” from what might be seen as the oppression of medical paternalism? To a great extent the potential for success of the Expert Patient venture turns on: whether and to what extent a patient can be considered truly to be an expert and full acceptance by the medical and heath care professions of allowing patients a more equitable and positive role.Whilst clearly the patient is an expert in the hermeneutic sense – it is they and they alone who experience their illness – there is nevertheless a risk of confusing experience with expertise. Experience limited to an individual does not of itself give rise to the generalisations that underlie reliable clinical treatment. Neither do the vast majority of patients possess the physiological and pharmacological knowledge to fully appreciate the biological nature of their illness nor the basis, risks or limitations of therapeutic measures. Might the notion of “The Expert Patient” as informed co-decision maker become a well-meaning but rather vacuous aspiration similar to that of informed consent? Even worse, could patient “empowerment” have a deleterious effect? The paper reviews some of the major issues and concludes that the expert patient initiative could have benefits for both patients and health professionals if operated on the basis of concordance: an informed collaborative alliance that optimises the potential benefits of medical care. (shrink)
Expert reasoning is responsible for some of the most stunning human achievements, but also for some of the most disastrous decisions ever made. The argumentative theory of reasoning has proven very effective at explaining the pattern of reasoning’s successes and failures. In the present article, it is expanded to account for expert reasoning. The argumentative theory predicts that reasoning should display a strong confirmation bias. If argument quality is not sufficiently high in a domain, the confirmation bias will make (...) class='Hi'>experts tap into their vast knowledge to defend whatever opinion they hold, with polarization and overconfidence as expected results. By contrast, experts should benefit even more from the power of group discussion to make the best of the confirmation bias—when they genuinely disagree that is, otherwise polarization is again likely to ensue. When experts interact with laymen other mechanisms can take the lead, in particular trust calibration and consistency checking. They can yield poor outcomes if experts do not have a sustained interaction with laymen, or if the laymen have strong opinions when they witness a debate between experts. Seeing reasoning as a mechanism of epistemic vigilance aimed at finding and evaluating arguments helps make better sense of expert reasoning performance, be it in individual ratiocination, in debates with other experts, or in interactions with laymen. (shrink)
This book is an extensive survey and critical examination of the literature on the use of expert opinion in scientific inquiry and policy making. The elicitation, representation, and use of expert opinion is increasingly important for two reasons: advancing technology leads to more and more complex decision problems, and technologists are turning in greater numbers to "expert systems" and other similar artifacts of artificial intelligence. Cooke here considers how expert opinion is being used today, how an expert's uncertainty is or (...) should be represented, how people do or should reason with uncertainty, how the quality and usefulness of expert opinion can be assessed, and how the views of several experts might be combined. He argues for the importance of developing practical models with a transparent mathematic foundation for the use of expert opinion in science, and presents three tested models, termed "classical," "Bayesian," and "psychological scaling." Detailed case studies illustrate how they can be applied to a diversity of real problems in engineering and planning. (shrink)
In qualitative interviews with a diverse group of experts, the vast majority believed unregulated researchers should seek out independent oversight. Reasons included the need for objectivity, protecting app users from research risks, and consistency in standards for the ethical conduct of research. Concerns included burdening minimal risk research and limitations in current systems of oversight. Literature and analysis supports the use of IRBs even when not required by regulations, and the need for evidence-based improvements in IRB processes.
Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...) on expert skill. Presenting the main argument for this expert skill model of wisdom is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I’ll argue that wisdom is primarily the same kind of epistemic achievement as expert decision-making skill in areas such as firefighting. Acknowledging this helps us see that, and how, real people can develop wisdom. It also helps to resolve philosophical debates about the nature of wisdom. For example, philosophers, including those who think virtue should be modeled on skills, disagree about the extent to which wise people make decisions using intuitions or principled deliberation and reflection. The expert skill model resolves this debate by showing that wisdom includes substantial intuitive and deliberative and reflective abilities. (shrink)
When an agent learns of an expert's credence in a proposition about which they are an expert, the agent should defer to the expert and adopt that credence as their own. This is a popular thought about how agents ought to respond to (ideal) experts. In a Bayesian framework, it is often modelled by endowing the agent with a set of priors that achieves this result. But this model faces a number of challenges, especially when applied to non-ideal agents (...) (who nevertheless interact with ideal experts). I outline these problems, and use them as desiderata for the development of a new model. Taking inspiration from Richard Jeffrey's development of Jeffrey conditioning, I develop a model in which expert reports are taken as exogenous constraints on the agent's posterior probabilities. I show how this model can handle a much wider class of expert reports (for example reports of conditional probabilities), and can be naturally extended to cover propositions for which the agent has no prior. (shrink)
The appeal to expert opinion is an argument form that uses the verdict of an expert to support a position or hypothesis. A previous scheme-based treatment of the argument form is formalized within a Bayesian network that is able to capture the critical aspects of the argument form, including the central considerations of the expert's expertise and trustworthiness. We propose this as an appropriate normative framework for the argument form, enabling the development and testing of quantitative predictions as to how (...) people evaluate this argument, suggesting that such an approach might be beneficial to argumentation research generally. We subsequently present two experiments as an example of the potential for future research in this vein, demonstrating that participants' quantitative ratings of the convincingness of a proposition that has been supported with an appeal to expert opinion were broadly consistent with the predictions of the Bayesian model. (shrink)
A consensus in a scientific community is often used as a resource for making informed public-policy decisions and deciding between rival expert testimonies in legal trials. This paper contains a social-epistemic analysis of the high-profile Bendectin drug controversy, which was decided in the courtroom inter alia by deference to a scientific consensus about the safety of Bendectin. Drawing on my previously developed account of knowledge-based consensus, I argue that the consensus in this case was not knowledge based, hence courts’ deference (...) to it was not epistemically justified. I draw sceptical lessons from this analysis regarding the value of scientific consensus as a desirable and reliable means of resolving scientific controversies in public life. (shrink)
Accounts of arguments from expert opinion take it for granted that expert judgments count as (defeasible) evidence for propositions, and so an argument that proceeds from premises about what an expert judges to a conclusion that the expert is probably right is a strong argument. In Mizrahi (2013), I consider a potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are significantly more likely to be true than novice judgments, and find it wanting because of empirical evidence suggesting that expert (...) judgments under uncertainty are not significantly more likely to be true than novice judgments or even chance. In this paper, I consider another potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are not influenced by the cognitive biases novice judgments are influenced by, and find it wanting, too, because of empirical evidence suggesting that experts are vulnerable to pretty much the same cognitive biases that novices are vulnerable to. If this is correct, then the basic assumption at the core of accounts of arguments from expert opinion, namely, that expert judgments count as (defeasible) evidence for propositions, remains unjustified. (shrink)