Philosophical and Psychological Accounts of Expertise and Experts
There are many philosophical problems surrounding experts, given the power and status accorded to them in society. We think that what makes someone an expert is having expertise in some skill domain. But what does expertise consist in, and how closely related is expertise to the notion of an expert? In this paper I inquire into the nature of expertise, by drawing on recent psychological research on skill acquisition and expert performance. In addition, I connect this research on expertise to the larger context of psychological research on human cognition, as it will illuminate some of the differing elements of expertise. This allows me to then critique philosophical accounts of expertise, by showing how they make unwarranted assumptions about skills and expertise. Finally, I note the ways in which being credited as an expert can diverge from the possession of expertise itself. This can help us resist some of the power dynamics involved with those deemed to be experts.
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