PERITIA Conference 'The Ethics of Trust and Expertise'

Dr Andrew Kirton and Dr Joshua Hobbs are to present their paper at the PERITIA conference 'The Ethics of Trust and Expertise' at the American University of Armenia.

IDEA Centre’s Dr Andrew Kirton and Dr Joshua Hobbs will be presenting their paper Deference, Trust and the Expertise of Lived Experience’​​​​​​ at the PERITIA conference at the American Univeristy of Armenia on Wednesday 1 June. This conference runs from 31 May through to 2 June and will focus on ethics and normative issues relevant to public trust, the nature of expertise, and the role of experts in public life and politics.

Abstract from Dr Andrew Kirton’s and Dr Joshua Hobbs’ paper

Theorists of solidarity argue that activists (and others seeking to remedy injustice) ought to defer to the lived experience of those facing injustice. This call to attend to the lived experience of individuals and groups facing injustice and oppression chimes with the popular mood – as evidenced in the activist refrain to ‘educate yourself’. On this account, lived experience of oppression is viewed as epistemically valuable, functioning as a certain sort of expertise.

We argue that this epistemic focus, although important, misses valuable aspects of the activist practice of deference to lived experience of injustice, which are highlighted when this is viewed through an analysis of the practice of trusting (or indeed deferring to) experts in other walks of life. 

Trusting experts is not simply a matter of drawing information from them, but of relating to them, and valuing them in a certain way. We argue that understanding deferring to lived experience of injustice as a version of the practice of trusting experts highlights (at least) two normatively valuable aspects of the practice: 

i. Insofar as trusting others renders us vulnerable to them, this practice can function to mitigate the power differentials that characterise the relationship between individuals facing injustice and their would-be allies. 

ii. As trusting others is to value them, this practice serves an important normative function, recognising the intrinsic value of marginalised groups and individuals facing injustice and oppression. 

Please note that you can also join this event online. Reserve your place.