Scratching where it doesn't itch: science denialism, expertise, and the probative value of scientific consensus

Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In recent years, several strategies have been proposed to tackle social controversies about topics in which science is settled, among which one of the most influential is that of Elizabeth Anderson, who argues that any lay person with access to the Internet and basic education can reliably assess the acceptability of various claims involving expert knowledge. In particular, the author shows that this procedure can be successfully applied to the case of anthropogenic global warming. In this article we will try to argue why, even if we concede that Anderson's proposal is satisfactory in that particular case, it fails to generalize when applied to other controversies. In this article, we illustrate it with the cases of flat-Eartherism and anti-vaxxerism.

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