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The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters

Preisvergleich Produktbild The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
In recent years, a cult of anti-expertise has engulfed America. While the United States has long been prone to bouts of anti-intellectualism, because of far-reaching technological and social transformations the current variant is of a different order. From the anti-vaccination movement to citizen blogging to uninformed attacks on GMOs, the nation has witnessed a surge in intellectual egalitarianism. As Tom Nichols shows inThe Death of Expertise, there are a number of reasons why this has occurred, ranging from easy access to Internet search engines to a customer satisfaction model within higher education. The product of these interrelated trends, Nichols argues, is a pervasive distrust of expertise among the public along with an unfounded belief among non-experts that their opinions should have equal standing with those of the experts. The experts are not always right, of course--after all, the leaders who rushed headlong into the Vietnam War were the "best and the brightest." Nichols will discuss expert failure at length, but he makes the crucial point that bad decisions by experts can and have been effectively challenged by other experts. That is fine, he argues. The problem now is that the democratization of information dissemination has engendered an army of ill-informed citizens inveighing against expertise. When challenged, non-experts typically resort to the canard that the experts are often wrong. That may be true, but the solution is not to jettison expertise as an ideal; it is to improve our expertise. He is certainly not opposed to information democratization, but rather the leap to enlightenment that that millions of lightly educated people believe they make when the scour WebMD or Wikipedia. Nichols will show in vivid detail the ways in which this impulse is coursing through our culture and body politic, but his larger goal is to explain the benefits that expertise and rigorous learning regimes bestow upon all societies, not just the United States.
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