Author Information: Jennifer Jill Fellows, University of British Columbia, email@example.com
Fellows, Jennifer Jill. 2013. “Eddies and Currents: A Reply to Sassower.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (11): 29-37.
Please refer to:
- Sassower, Raphael. 2013. “Upstream, Anyone? A Critical Reply to J. J. Fellows’ ‘Downstream of the Experts’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 139-142.
- Fellows, Jennifer Jill. 2013. “Downstream of the Experts: Trust-Building and the Case of MPAs.”Social Epistemology, doi 10.1080/02691728.2013.782582.
I am grateful for the critical review of my article “Downstream of the Experts: Trust-building and the Case of MPA’s” recently written by Raphael Sassower. His detailed review, as well as the invitation by Social Epistemology to reply to the review, has afforded me the opportunity to carefully reexamine and reiterate some points in my own work that will, I hope, clarify the overall intentions of my argument, and the places where Sassower and I disagree. Sassower and I agree that the challenges facing communication between scientific and lay communities are real, serious and messy, to say the least. And Sassower seems to support my call to amend Grasswick’s argument on the importance of knowledge-sharing in order to stress the need for this knowledge-sharing to be reciprocal. However, Sassower raises seven observations with regards to my arguments. Some of these observations are just that, observations. Some take the form of questions or suggestions. And some are critical of claims made in my paper. At the heart of many of Sassower’s observations is a call for more homogonized democractic communities, and more transparency in access to data. Sassower seems to suggest that communities are (or should be) homogonized. That is, he argues that everyone in a community has an equal ability to become knowledgeable about the facts on their own. Everyone, then, begins from the same standpoint. He further suggests that, once we recognize communities as homogonized we no longer need to engage in investigations of trust. In effect, he seems to claim that, once everyone has access to the same data, everyone can draw their own conclusions, and no one need trust the expertise of others. I, by contrast, argue that communities are not, at present, homogonized. I argue that power imbalances do exist and that trust cannot be removed from the discussion. Continue Reading…