The Social Psychology of Expertise: Case Studies in Research, Professional Domains, and Expert Roles

By Harald A. Mieg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
7

Conclusions for the Conceptualization
of Expertise in Context: Types of
Experts, Uncertainty, and Insecurity

Having discussed experts in financial markets and climate change, we now turn back to “The expert”-interaction and formulate some conclusions. We find that different uses result for different types of experts such as scientists and professionals. The starting point is the fact that not every kind of uncertainty creates a demand for cognitive expertise. We have to separate the epistemic question (what do we know?) from the pragmatic question (what shall we do?). This chapter introduces a typology of experts depending on the knowledge they administer and the use we can make of them. The typology of experts as well as the other concepts introduced in this chapter have to be seen in the way Dewey and Wittgenstein conceived of concepts in general: They are instruments for further investigation. Consequently, this chapter results in a view of experts as heuristics—that is, instruments for simplifying problem solving. In particular, decision makers can choose among experts as different heuristics in planning.


7.1 TYPOLOGY OF EXPERTS

Introducing Exploring Expertise, Williams, Faulkner, and Fleck (1998) stressed the role of scientific uncertainty in experts' disputes:

It would be wrong to conclude that the role of experts in controversies is solely a function of power politics. What is crucial to understand is that disagreements between experts generally take place in a context of scientific un

-143-

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