The Undecidable Grounds of Scientific Expertise: Science Education and the Limits of Intellectual Independence

Authors


Stella Gaon Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, 7-104 Education Building North, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G5 Stephen P. Norris Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, 7-104 Education Building North, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G5stephen.norris@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Motivated by the work of Hardwig (1985, 1991) on epistemic dependence and trust in expertise, we enquire into the nature and extent of the critical assessment that non-scientists can make—and that they should be taught to make—with regard to science. Our thesis is that critical assessment of science is possible for non-experts because at the basis of science is a set of norms, beliefs and values that are contestable by non-scientists. These norms, beliefs and values are of critical importance to science education and valuable to explore from a pedagogical perspective.

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