Three Criteria for Consensus Conferences

Foundations of Science 21 (1):35-49 (2016)
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Consensus conferences are social techniques which involve bringing together a group of scientific experts, and sometimes also non-experts, in order to increase the public role in science and related policy, to amalgamate diverse and often contradictory evidence for a hypothesis of interest, and to achieve scientific consensus or at least the appearance of consensus among scientists. For consensus conferences that set out to amalgamate evidence, I propose three desiderata: Inclusivity, Constraint, and Evidential Complexity. Two examples suggest that consensus conferences can readily satisfy Inclusivity and Evidential Complexity, but consensus conferences do not as easily satisfy Constraint. I end by discussing the relation between social inclusivity and the three desiderata
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