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18:00 - 20:00 31 January 2018

RESCHEDULED: JBS Haldane Lecture - Dr. Heather Douglas: How the Public Can Assess Expertise


Gustave Tuck LT | Wilkins Building (link Map)
Gower St | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Heather Douglas, Professor, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Heather Douglas is the Waterloo Chair in Science and Society in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She received her Ph.D. from the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh in 1998, and earned her B.A. in Philosophy and Physics at the University of Delaware in 1991.

Although general trust in expertise remains relatively high, trust in specific expertise has seen drops for some publics. More worrisome, the relationship between experts and the public in democratic societies remains fraught. Expertise is not something that any of us can gain in all the areas where we need to make decisions, and we still need experts to help inform our decisions. Yet, straightforward reliance on experts is made complicated by experts whose work is not readily assessable in the short term and by the normal state of disagreement among experts. Such complications are exacerbated by failures of expertise, both historical and contemporary. In this talk, I will describe how the public can plausibly assess expertise, even cases of genuine expert disagreement, without demanding that they become experts themselves. These bases for assessing expertise serve ultimately as bases for trust in expertise.


Malcolm Chalmers
+44 (0) 207 679 1328 | malcolm.chalmers@ucl.ac.uk


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