Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

arguments from expert opinion; cognitive bias; decision heuristics; expert performance; persistent bias

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

Accounts of arguments from expert opinion take it for granted that expert judgments are reliable, and so an argument that proceeds from premises about what an expert judges to a conclusion that the expert is probably right is a strong argument. In my (2013), I considered a potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are more likely to be true than novice judgments, and discussed empirical evidence suggesting that expert judgments are not more reliable than novice judgments or even chance. In this paper, I consider another potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are not influenced by the kinds of cognitive biases novice judgments are influenced by, and discuss empirical evidence suggesting that experts are vulnerable to pretty much the same kinds of cognitive biases as novices. If this is correct, then the basic assumption at the core of accounts of arguments from expert opinion remains unjustified.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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John Fields, Commentary on Arguments from Expert Opinion and Persistent Bias (May 2016)

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Arguments from Expert Opinion and Persistent Bias

University of Windsor

Accounts of arguments from expert opinion take it for granted that expert judgments are reliable, and so an argument that proceeds from premises about what an expert judges to a conclusion that the expert is probably right is a strong argument. In my (2013), I considered a potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are more likely to be true than novice judgments, and discussed empirical evidence suggesting that expert judgments are not more reliable than novice judgments or even chance. In this paper, I consider another potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are not influenced by the kinds of cognitive biases novice judgments are influenced by, and discuss empirical evidence suggesting that experts are vulnerable to pretty much the same kinds of cognitive biases as novices. If this is correct, then the basic assumption at the core of accounts of arguments from expert opinion remains unjustified.