Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    Trust in Experts: Why and Why Not?
    (Jericho Chambers, 2019-11)
    We are faced with a profound crisis of social trust, or so we hear on a daily basis from all those with a public megaphone. We don’t trust our politicians because they repeatedly fail to keep their promises or act in good faith, the media, we think, do not give honest and unbiased reports, and as to the experts, we don’t trust them because they are on the side of the elites and are motivated by sectional interests. Not the same level or variety of trust is at stake in all these cases, but their common denominator is the experience that those who expect trust from the public do not act in the public’s interest and therefore are not worthy of our trust.
  • Publication
    The Puzzle of Self-Deception
    It is commonly accepted that people can, and regularly do, deceive themselves. Yet closer examination reveals a set of conceptual puzzles that make self-deception difficult to explain. Applying the conditions for other-deception to self-deception generates what are known as the 'paradoxes' of belief and intention. Simply put, the central problem is how it is possible for me to believe one thing, and yet intentionally cause myself to believe its contradiction. There are two general approaches taken by philosophers to account for these puzzles about the self-deceptive state and the process of self-deception. 'Partitioning' strategies try to resolve the paradoxes by proposing that the mind is divided in some way that allows self-deception to occur. 'Reformulation' strategies suggest that the conditions we use to define self-deception should be modified so that the paradoxes do not arise at all. Both approaches are subject to criticism about the consequences of the strategies philosophers use, but recent cross-disciplinary analyses of self-deception may help shed light on the puzzles that underlie this phenomenon.
      2201Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Making sense of Science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty
    Making sense of science for policy is an unusual title for an evidence review report. The term ‘sense-making’ is clearly related to interpretation and cannot be covered without reference to individual or social judgements. In short, what makes sense to one person may not make any sense at all to another. While there are, in each society, shared understandings of what certain phenomena mean, there is no universal arbiter who would be able to distinguish between ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ sense-making. What is more, the nature of what science can offer to policymakers depends on the basic understanding and shared concepts of mandate, validity, reliability and relevance of scientific statements in the respective policy arena. As much as empirical studies can describe and classify different models and procedures of how scientific advice has been brought into policymaking arenas, they cannot provide conclusive evidence of which model of science advice has worked more effectively, or even better than another. Such a judgement would imply that there are objective success or failure criteria by which scientists could measure the degree to which a specific criterion has been met. However, this is not the case.
  • Publication
    Scepticism and the value of distrust
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022-11-16) ;
    Faced with urgent calls for more trust in experts, especially in high impact and politically sensitive domains, such as climate science and COVID-19, the complex nature of public trust in experts and the need for a more critical approach to the topic are easy to overlook. Scepticism–at least in its Humean mitigated form that encourages independent, questioning attitudes–can prove valuable to democratic governance, but stands in opposition to the cognitive dependency entailed by epistemic trust. In this paper, we investigate the tension between the value of mitigated scepticism and the need for trust in experts. We offer four arguments in favour of mitigated scepticism: the argument from loss of intellectual autonomy; the argument from democratic deficit; the argument from the normative failures of science; and the argument from past and current injustices. One solution, which we reject, is the idea that reliance, rather than trust, is sufficient for accommodating experts in policy matters. The solution we endorse is to create a ‘climate of trust’, where questioning experts and expertise is welcomed, but the epistemic trust necessary for acting upon information which the public cannot obtain first-hand is enabled and encouraged through structural, institutional and justice-based measures.
      13Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    Relativism and Religious Diversity
    (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012)
    Cultural diversity creates not only sociopolitical but also philosophical headaches. The Encyclopedia Britannica estimates that there are about ten thousand distinct religions, of which 150 have at least one million followers. According to other methods of individuation, there are nineteen major world religions subdivided into 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. These religions often profess conflicting articles of faith, metaphysical outlooks, ethical beliefs, and injunctions for religious practices. Logically speaking, not all religious doctrines could be true, but the difficulty is to decide which one(s), if any, are. Given seemingly incompatible and competing religious beliefs, there are at least five options available.
  • Publication
    A New Dark Age? Truth, Trust, and Environmental Science
    This review examines the alleged crisis of trust in environmental science and its impact on public opinion, policy decisions in the context of democratic governance, and the interaction between science and society. In an interdisciplinary manner, the review focuses on the following themes: the trustworthiness of environmental science, empirical studies on levels of trust and trust formation; social media, environmental science, and disinformation; trust in environmental governance and democracy; and co-production of knowledge and the production of trust in knowledge. The review explores both the normative issue of trustworthiness and empirical studies on how to build trust. The review does not provide any simple answers to whether trust in science is generally in decline or whether we are returning to a lessenlightened era in public life with decreased appreciation of knowledge and truth. The findings are more nuanced, showing signs of both distrust and trust in environmental science.
      13Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Relativism about Science
    (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2008-01-31)
  • Publication
    Quine, Naturalised Meaning and Empathy
    (University of Sassari, 2016-11)
    Naturalism is the defining feature of the philosophy of Willard van Orman Quine. But there is little clarity in our understanding of naturalism and the role it plays in Quine's work. The current paper explores one strand of Quine's naturalist project, the strand that primarily deals with a naturalised account of language. I examine the role that Quine assigns to empathy as the starting point of the process of learning and translating a language and argue that empathy, when going beyond the automatic form of mirroring, has an irreducible normative character which does not sit well with Quinean naturalism. 
  • Publication
    Three Pragmatisms: Putnam, Rorty and Brandom
    (Rodopi, 2008)
    Over the last several decades an increasing number of philosophers have announced their sympathies for or have become affiliated with what has become known as neo-pragmatism. The connection between the various strands of pragmatism, new and old, however, remains quite unclear. This paper attempts to shed some light on this issue by focusing on a debate between Hilary Putnam and Robert Brandom on classical and contemporary pragmatisms. Using the Brandom-Putnam debate as my starting point, I examine the relationship between the pragmatisms of Putnam and Rorty, two of the most influential neopragmatists, and argue that differing conceptions of the normative are at the heart of their disagreement. I further argue that this disagreement has similarities to, and can be illuminated by, two differing conceptions of norms in Wittgenstein’s work. I conclude that Brandom does not delineate the differences between various strands of pragmatism convincingly.
  • Publication