Abstract

For many of us, the evidence for our beliefs on anthropogenic global climate change turns on epistemic trust and distrust toward many varied others: researchers, intergovernmental agencies, peer review bodies, skeptical think tanks, science journalists. Even personal experiences and individual evidential assessments may be buttressed significantly by trust in credible others. This epistemic dependency need not make our climate knowledge intellectually or ethically suspect; nor does it make expert/non-expert relationships on climate change so different than other social-epistemic domains. Yet attending to trust (and lack thereof) in contemporary public understanding of climate change may help illuminate moral issues attendant to trustworthiness across epistemic difference. Building upon Annette Baier and Karen Jones on trust and Alvin Goldman and David Coady on expert disagreement, I model social knowledge of climate science in terms of epistemic trust relationships. These relationships can be morally healthy or rotten; accordingly, in the contexts of such relationships, experts and non-experts have reciprocal duties of trustworthiness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-5306
Print ISSN
1085-6633
Pages
pp. 29-49
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-30
Open Access
No
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