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Alvin I. Goldman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195138791.001.0001

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Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust?

Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust?

Chapter:
(p.139) 7 Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust?
Source:
Pathways to Knowledge
Author(s):

Alvin I. Goldman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195138791.003.0007

In everyday life, novices often defer to the testimony of experts in deciding what to believe. But when putative experts disagree, how can a novice justifiably decide which expert to trust? Five methods are considered: listening to their arguments and counter‐arguments, determining who has more agreement from other experts, consulting the ratings of metaexperts, checking the biases of the contenders, and consulting their respective track records. Going with greater numbers seems promising but depends on problematic assumptions. Appealing to track records, though ostensibly beyond a novice's ken, is shown to be possible and sometimes quite helpful.

Keywords:   agreement, biases, epistemology, experts, novices, testimony, track record, trust

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