Evidence of expert’s evidence is evidence

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John Hardwig has championed the thesis (NE) that evidence that an expert EXP has evidence for a proposition P, constituted by EXP's testimony that P, is not evidence for P itself, where evidence for P is generally characterized as anything that counts towards establishing the truth of P. In this paper, I first show that (NE) yields tensions within Hardwig's overall view of epistemic reliance on experts and makes it imply unpalatable consequences. Then, I use Shogenji-Roche's theorem of transitivity of incremental confirmation to show that (NE) is false if a natural Bayesian formalization of the above notion of evidence is implemented. I concede that Hardwig could resist my Bayesian objection if he interpreted (NE) as a more precise thesis that only applies to community-focused evidence. I argue, however, that this precisification, while diminishing the philosophical relevance of (NE), wouldn't settle tensions internal to Hardwig's views.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date7 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

I’m very grateful to Lorenzo Casini, Richard Dawid, Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Fed Luzzi, Tommaso Piazza, Tomoji Shogenji, Karim Thebault and two reviewers of this Journal for very helpful comments and criticism upon drafts of this paper.


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