Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Martin Hoffmann"

Titel: How to Identify Moral Experts? An Application of Goldman’s Criteria for Expert Identification to the Domain of Morality
Autor: Martin Hoffmann
Seite: 299-313

Abstract: How can laypeople justifiably distinguish between reliable experts and unreliable experts? This problem, usually called the ’problem of expert identification’, is highly debated in recent social epistemology. A great amount of work has been undertaken in order to find satisfactory criteria for identifying experts in different branches of the empirical sciences, but hardly in the domain of moral knowledge. This asymmetry between social and moral epistemology is the motivation behind my paper. I reconsider the epistemological problem of identifying moral experts by applying identification criteria developed in general social epistemology to the area of morality. As I will show, all of these criteria turn out to be inappropriate for identifying moral experts. This result seems implausible, because it conflicts with the observation that moral experts play an important role in public and scientific discourse, in ethics committees and boards. But this is not a real contradiction as I will illustrate by explaining which tasks these experts can, in my view, fulfil.

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Social Epistemology
2012 (34) Heft 2

The research program of social epistemology developed from a critique of philosophical epistemology around thirty years ago. Since then it has attracted ever-growing attention among philosophers. But social epistemology also offers prolific alignments for the social sciences. The starting point of social epistemology is the elementary fact that most of our knowledge is acquired not by our own autonomous exploration but by relying on information from others: on testimony. This is especially true ...

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