Title page for ETD etd-03302006-160650

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Tall, Jonathan D.
URN etd-03302006-160650
Title Informed Decision Making
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Philosophy & Religious Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cogburn, Jon Committee Co-Chair
Elliott, Kevin Committee Co-Chair
Crystal, Ian Committee Member
Roland, Jeff Committee Member
  • deferring to expert authority
  • expertise
  • appealing to expert authority
Date of Defense 2006-03-27
Availability unrestricted
This thesis will address the issue of appealing (or deferring) to the authority of expertise. The effects of the social character of knowledge highlight two points with regard to this issue. First, they leave the layman in an epistemically inferior position. Thus, the layman must appeal to the authority of experts. The second point, related to the first point, is the implicit role of trust in deferring to expert authority. Though I will pay attention to each of these points, the focus of this thesis will be on the former. If we accept that one must appeal to the authority of experts in order to be on epistemically firm ground, then as a consequence we leave ourselves open to the problem of adjudicating between conflicting expert testimonies. The goal of this thesis will be to examine a process by which one can arrive at the most epistemically justified position given the amount of information that one has at one’s disposal.
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