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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf

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Volume 34, Issue 2


How to Identify Moral Experts? An Application of Goldman's Criteria for Expert Identification to the Domain of Morality

Martin Hoffmann
Published Online: 2016-02-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0210


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, fulfill.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-02-11

Published in Print: 2012-11-01

Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, Volume 34, Issue 2, Pages 299–314, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0210.

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© 2012 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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