Tuesday, June 16, 2020

PERITIA: H2020 Project Exploring Trust in Expertise

Along with colleagues, we have recently begun a new H2020 project on trust in expertise in the context of major issues, in particular climate change led by Professor Maria Baghramian in the School of Philosophy in UCD. A link to the project website is available here.  
PERITIA investigates the conditions under which people trust expertise used for informing public policy. Funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020, the project brings together philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations to conduct a comprehensive multi-disciplinary research.
A slightly longer description of the project is below. I will lead a workpackage along with Dr. Till Weber in Newcastle on behavioural and experimental aspects of trust. As well as this, we hope to work with the other project packages to connect ongoing behavioural literatures on trust and ethics of influence to wider philosophical discussions of trust and trustworthiness.
Trust is the glue that binds our social interactions. Trust in the provenance and justification of policy measures are essential for their implementation. Sociotechnological transformations and the rise of populist politics with its anti-elitist mantra have put public trust in expert opinion and their areas of expertise to the test. In PERITIA, philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations will come together to investigate the nature and conditions of public trust. The project will review the role of science in policy decision-making and the conditions under which people should trust and rely on expert opinion that shapes public opinion. The key hypothesis explored conceptually and tested empirically is that affective and normative factors play a central role in decisions to trust, even in cases where judgements of trustworthiness may seem to be grounded in epistemic considerations, such as professional reputation, reliability and objectivity. The project will use climate change and climate science as a test case. Ultimately, it seeks to design and provide practical tools and indicators which can be applied to measure and establish the trustworthiness of the agents and institutions involved in social and political decision making.
A schematic representation of the project is below. More details of the team and the work-packages are available on the website. There have been a number of advertisements on the site for postdoctoral, PhD, and research assistant positions across a range of disciplines. The project will also host a set of events on trust in science in the context of climate change, drawing from philosophy, political science, and a range of social and behavioural science contributions. One particularly interesting page details a range of contributions from team members on scientific contributions to the covid response.

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