What if the expert lies? How to reveal a lying expert



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In my presentation, I focus on the argumentation theory and its connection to the phenomenon of lying (the traditional definition of lying is being used). To be more precise, I will be discussing the problems of Arguments from expert opinion and the following question: Can we reveal a lying expert and how to do it? To begin with, I present a definition of Argument from expert opinion based on Douglas Walton’s theory. It is necessary to distinguish between the terms of authority (the Latin expression ad verecundiam is traditionally used) and expert, as their institutional and epistemic notion tends to be confused. Then it will be shown that the expert has a prominent (not only epistemic) position in argumentation (in both institutional and epistemic approach), and for this reason he is also in a very good position to commit a lie. Furthermore, the expert does often not participate in argumentation(s), he is only mentioned as a support (warrant) of used premises. In such cases, a lie is commonly committed by an arguing layperson. We must take this discrepancy into consideration. Walton’s dialogical notion of argumentation needs to be explained. According to Walton, arguments can be evaluated by Critical questions which challenge the parts of arguments that tend to be faulty. In the main part of my presentation, I show Walton’s Critical questions related to Argument from expert opinion, especially such that should help us reveal a lying expert. The reliability of an expert can be challenged in many ways. Walton defines a group of questions aiming the trustworthiness of an expert. We can look at the expert’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, etc. Unfortunately, these concepts are transformed to vague concept of bias, which is a subject of study of other sciences than argumentation theories. Despite this fact, we can challenge the expert using Critical questions. I argue that it seems more effective to ask other Critical questions than those aiming trustworthiness. I will show ways how to question the expert and layperson as well. It follows that the group of questions concerning trustworthiness is not as useful as the rest of them. Obviously, there are ways how to reveal a lying expert.
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