Workshop: Epistemic Trust in the Epistemology of Expert Testimony

Mrz 08
8. März 2019 10:00 Uhr bis 18:00 Uhr

Recent approaches in the epistemology of testimony have moved beyond the divide between reductionist and reliabilist theories of knowledge acquisition via the say-so of others. Instead they invoked concepts such as trust and authority that had until then primarily been discussed in areas of practical philosophy. Trust and authority on first sight seem to be promising concepts for explaining cases of epistemic asymmetry such as in relationships between experts and non-experts, but they also motivate the introduction of non-epistemic reasons into theories of testimony. While theories of testimony involving epistemic trust are on the one hand well suited to explain the mutual normative expectations of speakers and audiences that stabilize testimonial exchanges, they seem on the other hand to be problematic from an epistemological perspective, as they offer no straight forward way to explaining the rationality of testimonial belief. Alternative approaches to epistemic trust have therefore suggested explaining epistemic trust as a kind of belief based on another person’s authoritative reasons. While this seems prima facie more promising from an epistemic perspective, these approaches have difficulties to explain the interpersonal features of trusting relationships. However, these epistemological debates, which are of philosophical interest in their own right, might also have a bearing on practical problems in the communication and dissemination of scientific knowledge, both, within the sciences and between the scientific experts and non-experts. Therefore, the workshop will also take the epistemological debate as a starting point to examine how theories of epistemic trust can shed light on practical problems of distrust in and misunderstanding of scientific claims.

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