Science and humanism between accuracy and confidence: a plea for a metacognitive approach to trust in science. November 2020. Presented at a workshop at U of Miami in November 2020
abstract   bibtex   
Some philosophers claim that science has a privileged epistemic position and that we should trust foremostly science in representing reality, pursuing truth, understanding, and changing the world (see “scientism” J. Ladyman, D. Ross and its criticism by B. Williams i.a.). Humanists may retort and press further on this question: when is it rational to trust science, or more specifically a scientific representation? This paper focuses on the rationality of trust in science (N. Cartwright, N. Oreskes, M. Morrison) and ascertains the role of a certain metacognitive component of rational trust in a scientific representation SR (a model, a theory, a hypothesis). By insisting on the metacognition nature of the rational trust in our best scientific representations, one can enhance the public understanding of science and avoid science-denialism. We discuss (i) accuracy as first-order cognitive feature and (ii) confidence level as a second-order metacognitive property of SR. Confidence is typically associated to a metacognitive ability in humans (or artificial agents): a “second-order” ability to evaluate the representation of a target system (J. Proust, P. Carruthers) or a “high-level knowledge” as a epistemic competence (Sosa, Baehr). In a naturalistic vein, metacognition encodes better the epistemic humbleness of the scientific representation, a feature needed, as the argument goes, in humanism. When the accuracy of SR is complemented (and augmented) with a certain level of confidence in this representation, it is more rational to trust SR and less rational to adopt some form of denialism about SR. We suggest a connection between confidence as a metacognitive ability and the way a scientific model represents (the DEKI approach of R. Frigg & J. Nguyen), especially with the K ‘mapping’. The conclusion is that by striking the balance between accuracy and confidence of SR, humanists can strengthen the argument about the rationality of trust in science.
@unpublished{noauthor_science_2020,
	title = {Science and humanism between accuracy and confidence: a plea for a metacognitive approach to trust in science},
	abstract = {Some philosophers claim that science has a privileged epistemic position and that we should trust foremostly science in representing reality, pursuing truth, understanding, and changing the world (see “scientism” J. Ladyman, D. Ross and its criticism by B. Williams i.a.). Humanists may retort and press further on this question: when is it rational to trust science, or more specifically a scientific representation? This paper focuses on the rationality of trust in science (N. Cartwright, N. Oreskes, M. Morrison) and ascertains the role of a certain metacognitive component of rational trust in a scientific representation SR (a model, a theory, a hypothesis). By insisting on the metacognition nature of the rational trust in our best scientific representations, one can enhance the public understanding of science and avoid science-denialism. We discuss (i) accuracy  as first-order cognitive feature and (ii) confidence level as a second-order metacognitive property of SR. Confidence is typically associated to a metacognitive ability in humans (or artificial agents): a “second-order” ability to evaluate the representation of a target system (J. Proust, P. Carruthers) or a “high-level knowledge” as a epistemic competence (Sosa, Baehr). In a naturalistic vein, metacognition encodes better the epistemic humbleness of the scientific representation, a feature needed, as the argument goes, in humanism. When the accuracy of SR is complemented (and augmented) with a certain level of confidence in this representation, it is more rational to trust SR and less rational to adopt some form of denialism about SR. We suggest a connection between confidence as a metacognitive ability and the way a scientific model represents (the DEKI approach of R. Frigg \& J. Nguyen), especially with the K ‘mapping’. The conclusion is that by striking the balance between accuracy and confidence of SR, humanists can strengthen the argument about the rationality of trust in science.},
	month = nov,
	year = {2020},
	note = {Presented at a workshop at U of Miami in November 2020},
}

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