Knowledge Without Expertise

On the Status of Scientists

By Raphael Sassower

Subjects: Sociology Of Knowledge
Series: SUNY series in Science, Technology, and Society
Paperback : 9780791414828, 158 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791414811, 158 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents


1. Scientists on Trial: Section F of the BAAS

2. On Oracles: Psychological "Foundations" of Knowledge

3. Scientists as Experts

4. Blurring Disciplinary Boundaries

5. Politicizing Expertise

6. Contextualizing Expertise: Potential Empowerment




This book critically examines the reliance of society on experts, specifically attacking the notion of the privilege of scientific expertise and defining the politics of this intellectual discourse. The extensive case material illustrates the consequences of claims of expert knowledge. Sassower questions the perception that scientific controversies are focused on epistemological concerns and demonstrates how the debates are often politically motivated. He proposes pedagogical models that would enhance the critical tools of the public — of citizens who must continuously scrutinize the positions of experts and their knowledge claims.

Raphael Sassower is Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.


"We are often treated to the mystical and romantic vision of the natural sciences. Sassower's book brings science down to earth by showing its institutional and ideological roots. " — Stanley Aronowitz, CUNY Graduate Center