A Paradigm for Your Thoughts: A Kuhnian Analysis of Expertise
It will be argued that the “problem of demarcation” and the defining of “expertise” share common structural features that can lead to either a type of strong relativism (everyone is an expert) or ultra-scepticism (expertise does not exist). Appropriating notions from Thomas Kuhn’s (1996). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions it will be argued that an “expert” in a field that has a dominant paradigm is different to an “expert” in a field that has multiple competing paradigms. To illustrate my argument I will look at the field of economics and the competing claims of experts over the likelihood of a global recession circa 2005. To this I will apply Goldman’s (2001) criteria for expertise assessment and by-way of a hypothetical non-expert show that this criteria becomes deficient in expertise assessment if we only hold to what I have called a “methodological” definition of expertise. I will also introduce the notion of the “anti-expert” who is an equivalent expert, but their whole field is dependent upon the dominant paradigm for its meaning. That is, its existence is parasitic upon the success of the paradigm, rather than as a “revolutionary science” which looks to overthrown or change the paradigm.
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