A new anti-expertise dilemma

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Instability occurs when the very fact of choosing one particular possible option rather than another affects the expected values of those possible options. In decision theory: An act is stable iff given that it is actually performed, its expected utility is maximal. When there is no stable choice available, the resulting instability can seem to pose a dilemma of practical rationality. A structurally very similar kind of instability, which occurs in cases of anti-expertise, can likewise seem to create dilemmas of epistemic rationality. One possible line of response to such cases of instability, suggested by both Jeffrey (The logic of decision, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1983) and Sorensen (Aust J Philos 65(3):301–315, 1987), is to insist that a rational agent can simply refuse to accept that such instability applies to herself in the first place. According to this line of thought it can be rational for a subject to discount even very strong empirical evidence that the anti-expertise condition obtains. I present a new variety of anti-expertise condition where no particular empirical stage-setting is required, since the subject can deduce a priori that an anti-expertise condition obtains. This kind of anti-expertise case is therefore not amenable to the line of response that Jeffrey and Sorensen recommend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5551-5569
Number of pages19
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • A priori knowledge
  • Anti-expertise
  • Belief
  • Decision theory
  • Demonstrative judgement
  • Epistemic dilemma
  • Epistemology
  • Instability
  • Rational dilemma
  • Rationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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