, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 3–10 | Cite as


  • Alvin I. Goldman


This paper offers a sizeable menu of approaches to what it means to be an expert. Is it a matter of reputation within a community, or a matter of what one knows independently of reputation? An initial proposal characterizes expertise in dispositional terms—an ability to help other people (especially laypersons) get answers to difficult questions or execute difficult tasks. What cognitive states, however, ground these abilities? Do the grounds consist in “veritistic” (truth-linked) states or in terms of evidence or justifiedness? To what extent is expertise a matter of superior knowledge or other factors? Some authors seek to debunk the notion of expertise entirely. The present approach resists this stance, but doesn’t dispute the variability and fluidness of the concept. Even more challenging is the problem of how laypersons can determine who is the superior expert, especially when experts disagree.


Expertise Social epistemology Veritism Identifying experts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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