Why do we trust what other people say, and form beliefs on the basis of their speech? One answer: they are taken to have epistemic authority. Intuitively this means that the other person (or institution, or group) is taken to be authoritative in what they say, at least with respect to a particular domain. Here, we want to claim that there are (at least) two varieties of epistemic authority, one based on reliability and one on assuming (nonepistemic) authority. We claim that both are subject to linguistic negotiation. This paper begins by reviewing McCready’s (2015) theory of reliability, and then turns to strategies for attempting to assume epistemic authority, focusing on those involving the use of not-at-issue content. We then show the results of two experiments which test the interaction of stereotypes about gender with epistemic authority, and how this is mediated by language use, focusing on the case of gendered pronouns. Finally, the results are explored for Bayesian views of argumentation and analyzed within McCready’s Reliability Dynamic Logic.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2016|