Expert Opinions In The Search For Knowledge

1605 words - 6 pages

Throughout recorded history, societies and populations across the world have relied on individuals regarded as ‘experts’ and their valued opinions to provide insight and clarification to aid the search for knowledge. This essay will assess the importance of opinions by people deemed to have a certain expertise in terms of the search for knowledge. In the question ‘how important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?’ the terms ‘opinion’, ‘expert’ and ‘knowledge’ are fundamental, and thus repeatedly feature in the body of this essay. For the purpose of this essay, the following terms have been defined according this knower’s understanding of them: An ‘opinion’ is an individual’s perspective towards a certain issue or topic. An ‘expert’ is an individual that is professionally qualified in a certain field, and/or has a level of advanced knowledge or experience in that particular field that is highly specialised. ‘Knowledge’ is the acquisition of information, grounded in a certain specialised area of knowledge.

As I am writing this essay, the crisis in Libya is unfolding before us. Yet, due to restrictions on foreign media, news providers like CNN have been unable to enter Libya to provide us with on-the-ground reports, therefore, we as an international audience are limited in our search for knowledge in regards to Libya as expert news providers are not present. At the moment, CNN is relying on ordinary Libyan citizens to provide amateur footage and first hand accounts of the crisis, however, questions could be raised as to whether these ‘ordinary’ citizens can be recognized to be ‘experts’, particularly since their information is being broadcasted to the world. Given the restrictions in Libya, these ‘ordinary’ citizens can be perceived to be experts on the unfolding crisis as they are experiencing it first hand, whereas, CNN are not. Despite this, these ordinary citizens may not have the expertise to comment on the political origins of the crisis, which is why CNN hire political experts in the studio to provide their expert opinions and analyze the information passed on from the ordinary Libyans. These political ‘experts’ can be perceived to be experts as they may have a vast knowledge and experience with Libyan politics. This example goes to prove how important experts are in the search for knowledge, and how they facilitate our understanding towards issues that the international public maybe unfamiliar with, such as the origins of the 2011 Libyan crisis. Although, on the other hand, stating that experts are important in the search for knowledge could be deemed as a correspondent truth, as it is an obvious statement based on logic. Stating that experts facilitate the search for knowledge disregards certain limitations. Experts and providers of information, such as CNN, may be unreliable and inaccurate in the coverage of certain events, and this is a limitation in the search for knowledge, as it is providing the public with...

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