three-dimensions-of-expertise.doc

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Three Dimensions of Expertise Harry Collins Introduction The following analysis has two sources. The first is the sociological/philosophical analysis of expertise represented by the `Periodic Table of Expertises’ (Collins and Evans 2007). The Periodic Table is at the heart of a program of research called `SEE’, which stands for `Studies of Expertise and Experience’. 1 The second source is the attempt to meld the table with analyses of expertise more typical of psychology and philosophy. Mike Gorman, Greg Feist, Evan Selinger and Dave Stone are to blame for the second part since they were responsible for putting together the meeting in Berkeley in August 2006 from which this initiative sprang. 2 The argument presented here is that traditional philosophical and psychological analyses are mainly concerned with, or at least emphasise, the development of expertise in individuals. Doing some violence to psychology, which, after all, does look at group practices such as education, and perhaps doing a little less violence to philosophy, I am going to say that both disciplines treat expertise `one dimensionally’. Typical of their 1 References to work pertaining to SEE will be found throughout this text. 2 This workshop was held on the Berkeley campus on 8-9 August 2010, overlapping with the annual meeting of the International Society for Psychology of Science and Technology (which ran over the previous two days). This paper is version of my presentation to that meeting though it has been much amended in the light of what transpired over the next two or three days. I am indebted to the lively critical discussions which, by the end of the meeting, had taken on a constructive and genuinely interdisciplinary flavour. I am especially grateful to Greg Feist for critical comments and Rob Evans for positive input, especially to the Expertise-space diagrams which contain a number of his ideas. 1
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results are `stage theories’. The psychologist Chi (2006) says that individuals go through six stages of increasing sophistication as they become expert while the philosophers, Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus (1986), have a very influential `five stage model’ of the development of expertise. 3 The Periodic Table of Expertises (Figure 1) must now be briefly introduced. For the purposes at hand we need concentrate on only a couple of lines of the table. The line labelled `Dispositions’, which describes certain individual abilities can be ignored for current purposes. `Meta-expertises’ are expertises we use to judge other experts and that line can also be ignored along with `meta-credentials’, which are self explanatory. The crucial lines for the current exercise are `Specialist Expertises’ and `Ubiquitous Expertises’. 3 Thanks to Greg Feist for the reference to Chi UBIQUITOUS EXPERTISES DISPOSITIONS Interactive Ability Reflective Ability SPECIALIST UBIQUITOUS TACIT KNOWLEDGESPECIALIST TACIT KNOWLEDGE EXPERTISES Beer-mat KnowledgePopular UnderstandingPrimary Source KnowledgeInteractional ExpertiseContributory Expertise Polimorphic
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