The aim of this paper is to discuss a parallel in the thinking of STS scholar Sheila Jasanoff and philosopher Adam Elga. Although both subscribe to the norms of their respective discipline—Elga using a priori conceptual analysis and Jasanoff conducting empirical case studies—they both reason in similar ways regarding epistemic hierarchy in political controversy. They argue that controversial questions are enmeshed in such a way with political framework that there can be no purely epistemic evaluation of expertise. This conclusion is unexpected for a parallel between STS and philosophy of science since it is not based on a normative theory of expertise. While there has been collaboration between the two fields in the wake of the so-called “third wave” movement in science studies, the parallel discussed in this paper opens up the potential for collaborative research based on a skeptical view of expertise and epistemic authority.

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