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When experts disagree


Coady, DA, When experts disagree, Episteme, 3, (1-2) pp. 68-79. ISSN 1742-3600 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2007 Edinburgh University Press

DOI: doi:10.1353/epi.0.0002


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:expert opinion, non-independence principle, epistemology of rumors, Alvin Goldman
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Epistemology
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Political systems
UTAS Author:Coady, DA (Dr David Coady)
ID Code:42296
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2012-10-22
Downloads:7 View Download Statistics

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