The expertise defense is an attempt to defend the use of intuitive judgments elicited by hypothetical cases as evidence in philosophical argumentation. Critics of experimental philosophy who appeal to the expertise defense argue that only the intuitive judgments of experts, i.e., professional philosophers, should count as evidence in philosophical arguments.
In “Are Philosophers Expert Intuiters?” (2010), Jonathan Weinberg, Chad Gonnerman, Cameron Buckner and Joshua Alexander argue that one cannot simply use the “expertise card” without the right kind of empirical evidence to back it up. Proponents of the expertise defense have to show that philosophers really do have some kind of philosophical intuitive expertise, especially in light of what the extant scientific literature says about expertise.
Now, I think that a paper of mine on arguments from expert opinion can contribute to this debate in the following way. Those who appeal to the expertise defense are effectively saying that an intuitive judgment J in response to hypothetical case C is more likely to be true when made by a professional philosopher than by a non-philosopher. More generally, J is more likely to be true when made by an expert than by a non-expert. In my paper, however, I argue that this is not the case. Studies on the accuracy of expert opinions show that, on average, expert opinions are only slightly more accurate than chance. As one researcher put it, the experts he studied did no better than “a dart-throwing chimpanzee.”
If this is correct, then, even if philosophers are expert intuiters, it would still not follow that their expert judgments are significantly more likely to be true than the judgments of non-experts. And if that’s the case, then there is no reason to give the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers more weight in philosophical arguments than to the intuitive judgments of non-philosophers.
I’m curious to know what readers make of this additional challenge to proponents of the expertise defense.