New Book: Questioning Experts and Expertise

A newly published book “Questioning Experts and Expertise” (Routledge) edited by PERITIA investigators Maria Baghramian and Carlo Martini presents research funded by PERITIA as well as some of the results of the Irish project When Experts Disagree (WEXD). It brings together philosophers, sociologists and policy experts to discuss the nature, scope and limitations of expert advice in policy decisions.

The role of experts and their expertise, in our personal and social lives, has taken centre stage in the debates about our post-COVID-19 world. Scientific disinformation is rife, and expertise is badly needed to tackle highly complex social problems.

The chapters collected here address some of the most fundamental questions in the debate on the role of experts. They explore, among others, the definitions of expertise, the role of experts in modern democracies, the dilemma of choosing between equally competent and qualified experts who cannot agree, the objectivity of expert judgements, the relationship between experts and novices in polarised social settings and the conditions on the trustworthiness of experts. These explorations, by some of the best- known academics working in the field, highlight the complexities of the questions they address but also lay down a road map for addressing them.

Book Cover Questioning Experts and Expertise

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Ubiquitous Questions about Experts and Society

Maria Baghramian and Carlo Martini

2. Believing to Belong: Addressing the Novice- Expert Problem in Polarized Scientific Communication

Helen De Cruz

3. The Rightful Place of Expertise

Reiner Grundmann

4. Expertise, Agreement, and the Nature of Social Scientific Facts or: Against Epistocracy

Julian Reiss

5. Asymmetry, Disagreement and Biases: Epistemic Worries about Expertise

Cathrine Holst and Anders Molander

6. Towards a Balanced Account of Expertise

Christian Quast

7. Expertise, Relevance and Types of Knowledge

Pierluigi Barrotta and Eleonora Montuschi

8. Are Experts Right or are They Members of Expert Groups?

Harry Collins

9. What Experts Could Not Be

Jamie Carlin Watson

10. For A Service Conception of Epistemic Authority: A Collective Approach

Michel Croce

11. Can Novices Trust Themselves to Choose Trustworthy Experts? Reasons for (Reserved) Optimism

Johnny Brennan

12. Why the Fence Is the Seat of Reason When Experts Disagree

Martin Hinton

13. Values and Objectivity in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Julie Jebeile