PERITIA – Policy, Expertise and Trust – is an international research project exploring the conditions under which people trust expertise used for shaping public policy.
Trust is the glue that binds our social interactions. Trust in the provenance and justification of policy measures are essential for their implementation. Sociotechnological transformations and the rise of populist politics with its anti-elitist mantra have put public trust in expert opinion and their areas of expertise to the test.
In PERITIA, philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations will come together to investigate the nature and conditions of public trust. The project will review the role of science in policy decision-making and the conditions under which people should trust and rely on expert opinion that shapes public opinion.
The key hypothesis explored conceptually and tested empirically is that affective and normative factors play a central role in decisions to trust, even in cases where judgements of trustworthiness may seem to be grounded in epistemic considerations, such as professional reputation, reliability and objectivity.
The project will use climate change and climate science as a test case. Ultimately, it seeks to design and provide practical tools and indicators which can be applied to measure and establish the trustworthiness of the agents and institutions involved in social and political decision making.