Five pragmatist insights on scientific expertise

Authors

  • Mathias Girel Lab: République des Savoirs (CNRS-ENS-Collège de France), Centre Cavaillès. Institution: École normale supérieure-PSL, Paris.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4454/philinq.v8i2.305

Keywords:

pragmatism, scientific expertise, skepticism, criteria, ignorance

Abstract

A common objection to a pragmatist perspective on scientific expertise is that, while there is a well-known pragmatist theory of inquiry, which was formulated first by Peirce, then refined by Dewey and others, this theory cannot provide a clear-cut account of scientific expertise. In this paper, after addressing this objection in the second section, I claim that, on the contrary, pragmatism offers robust tools to think scientific expertise. In Sections 3 to 7, I present five important insights that one can derive from a pragmatist epistemology when responding to contemporary problems posed by expertise: about science and scientific expertise in a legal context (sections 3 and 4), about collective expertise (sections 5 and 6), and even about expertise on ignorance (section 7).

Published

2020-07-20

Issue

Section

Focus