The Real Struggle: An Objective Notion of Expertise?

Markus Seidel


In a paper published in this journal Martin Hinton aims to show that the struggle between Moti Mizrahi and me about whether arguments from expert opinion are weak arguments rests on misunderstandings (Hinton 2015). Let me emphasize that I generally appreciate Hinton’s intention to settle the dispute between Mizrahi and myself in this way. 1 Furthermore, I also agree with Hinton’s conclusion that if Mizrahi is interpreted in the way Hinton does, then Mizrahi’s “claim becomes far less controversial, but also rather uninteresting” (Hinton 2015, 551)—to refer to the title of my former paper: just spilling out the water wouldn’t be worth a paper in Informal Logic. 2 Let me therefore focus in this reply on the points where Hinton directly attacks my treatment of Mizrahi and also what Hinton takes to be my account of expertise. I will discuss the following criticism of Hinton: (1) that, at points, my attack on Mizrahi is unfair due to my misunderstanding of his intentions, (2) that the notion of expertise I use is self-contradictory/inconsistent, (3) that the argument for my view is circular, (4) that one of my examples—the example from soccer—is mistaken. In rebutting this criticism, I aim to clarify the background of my former paper in this journal.


expertise, argumentum ad verecundiam, argument from expert opinion

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ISSN: 0824-2577