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The Pro-Authority Pledge

Alan blogged criticizing a "pro-truth pledge" which is actually a pro-authority pledge:

Defer: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are dispute

which experts? how much more likely? what about when, as usual, some experts disagree with each other? should we believe the more numerous or more famous experts, as the Global Warming lobby recommends?

as a philosophy expert, should everyone defer to me about everything? my field deals with how to think, reason, judge ideas, evaluate conclusions, etc. so i have expertise on whether, for example, a global warming expert is reasoning correctly about climate science, or not.

as a philosopher of science, do my claims trump the claims of all scientists? i've studied the scientific method itself and can evaluate whether they used it correctly or not.

please no. i don't trust my fellow philosophers to make wise kings ;)

saying to defer to experts changes the debate from

1) the debate about the actual issues

to

2) the debate about which people are experts, how much of an expert they are, and which type of expertise has priority in this case.

But it's way more productive to talk about (1), not (2)!


Elliot Temple on July 26, 2017

Comments (4)

It is a mix of common sense, authority and low level existing knowledge.

I don't trust everything the authorities say.

FF at 3:44 AM on July 27, 2017 | #8876

@ 8876

#8876

do you mean that you don't *accept* everything authorities say?

do you mean that you do *trust* some things authorities say? If so, what do you mean by trust?

Anonymous at 7:26 AM on July 27, 2017 | #8877
#8877

> do you mean that you don't *accept* everything authorities say?

Yes

ff at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2017 | #8880
I accept some things eg: evolution on authority and not by self study. I don't want to do an in depth study of everything. I do google a lot about the subjects I care about though but not deeply enough.

I accepted global warming on authority and now I am skeptical about it after making Elliot and Epstein the authorities. I don't want the planet to be saved by destroying progress and civilization.

FF at 12:08 PM on July 27, 2017 | #8883

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)