At the next Perspectives on Science seminar on Monday 1.3., Kristina Rolin (Tampere University) will give a presentation titled “Trust in Science: The Moral Dimension”. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 2 to 4 pm.
Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT, the Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.
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Trust in alleged experts is thought to be rational when the experts are trustworthy, and one has good reasons to believe that they are trustworthy, and one trusts the experts because of these reasons. Trustworthiness is thought to have two dimensions: the epistemic and the moral. Whereas the epistemic dimension involves expertise (to a reasonable degree in a relevant domain), the moral dimension involves honesty and good will towards those who are epistemically dependent on the expert. Trustworthiness is rarely transparent to others, and hence, the assessment of trustworthiness is dependent on the social indicators of trustworthiness (e.g., indicators of expertise, honesty, good will, and capability to make sound moral judgments). While there is a fair amount of discussion about the social indicators of expertise (Anderson 2011; Goldman 2006), there is surprisingly little discussion about the social indicators of the moral dimension of trustworthiness. In my presentation, I focus on the moral dimension of trustworthiness and its social indicators. In the first part of my presentation, I explain why Baier’s (1986) moral conception of trust (rather than mere reliance) is appropriate in an analysis of trust in science. In the second part of my presentation, I argue that to understand the social indicators of the moral dimension of trustworthiness, we need to distinguish between two types of cases, the ones in which honesty and good will can be assumed by default and the ones in which they cannot be assumed by default. Finally, I analyze the social indicators of the moral dimension in the latter case.
Kristina Rolin is University Lecturer in Research Ethics at Tampere University. She is the PI of the research project “Social and Cognitive Diversity in Science: An Epistemic Assessment” (2018-2022). Her areas of research are philosophy of science and social science, social epistemology, and feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. She is interested in diversity in science, the role of trust and values in science, collective knowledge, epistemic responsibility, and objectivity.