16:00 - 18:00 UPL Thomas Grundmann

Thursday, 7 December 2017
16:00 – 18:00
Janskerkhof 15a, Room 004

‘Democratic Ideals, Conspirational Thinking, and Epistemic Authorities ’
Thomas Grundmann (Cologne)

Disrespect for the truth, the rise of conspirational thinking, and a pervasive distrust in experts are widespread features of current politics and public opinion. Among the many good explanations of these phenomena there is one that is only rarely discussed: There is a strong disanalogy between democratic ideals and epistemic norms. From the perspective of democracy, all citizens are equal and should be respected as independent voters. From an epistemic point of view, epistemic inequality (between experts and laypeople) is inevitable and laypeople are often rationally required to simply defer to epistemic authorities. In my talk I will argue that confusing democratic and epistemic ideals can undermine trust in experts. I will then explain in more detail why we should often defer to experts without using any of our own reasons about the subject matter. Moreover, I will show what place is left for critical thinking and why this does not lead to blind trust in authorities.
Department of Philosophy
Utrecht University
Janskerkhof 15a, Room 004

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