Trust The Experts? Maybe Not

The very first time we’re asked to write a paper, we’re told to appeal to authority figures. Supposedly, we guarantee the information’s truth by doing so.

Of course, it’s not always guaranteed that the information is true. In light of that, we’re told to cite relevant authority figures — people who have spent a lot of time studying the subject we’re writing about. Statements from relevant sources are taken to be more likely true.

This makes a certain amount of sense. Experts have mastered a particular subject’s reasoning, techniques, background information, etc. It, therefore, seems likely that the expert’s statements are true. Hence, our claims appear to be on solid grounds when we appeal to an expert.

I’m not entirely convinced that appealing to relevant authority is good reasoning.

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