The Social Indicators of the Reputation of an Expert

The Social Indicators of the Reputation of an Expert

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  • September 27, 2022
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A notion that comes from the toolbox of social sciences, trust has become a mainstream epistemological concept in the last 15 years. The notion of epistemic trust has been distinguished from the notion of moral and social trust, the former involves kinds of inferences about the others that are rationally justifiable. If I trust a scientist about the efficacy of a vaccine against COVID-19, I must have an epistemic justification. I am therefore rationally justified in trusting her because I have an epistemic reason to justify my belief. I will challenge the distinction between epistemic and moral and social trust by pointing to several social indicators that contribute to our trustful attitudes in a reasonable way. Social indicators of reputation, values and moral commitments to values are indispensable strategies to come to trust in a rational way, an attitude that is different from merely believing the truth. I also point out the fragility of trusting experts’ reputations and stress the importance of avoiding biases in trusting other people’s reputations to make our deference to experts more robust.

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