Robert Evans
Cardiff School of Social Sciences

Rethinking Expertise: Reviews and Features

It’s been a high profile month for the Cardiff perspective on expertise, with a review of Rethinking Expertise being published in Nature and a two page feature article on the same work also appearing in the Times Higher Education Supplement.

The Nature review was written by Robert Crease, Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University and, if you have access rights, can be downloaded in full from The review provides a good summary of the main issues covered in the book and also includes some nice compliments, like this one:

"Collins and Evans put their points vividly, with elegant language and diagrams"

The THES article was written by Matthew Reisz and the full text is available to THES subscribers from The article summarises the Cardiff research programme, including Rethinking Expertise, which is described as follows:

“The book offers a rich and detailed "periodic table" of expertise, ranging from the kind of beer-mat knowledge useful only in pub quizzes to the levels of skill that enable people to make a contribution to cutting-edge science. It considers wine buffs and art connoisseurs, hoaxers, journalists and pseudoscientists. It looks at deep philosophical issues of "embodiment" - whether you need to move around in the world to acquire a language or the jargon of a specialist field - that have major implications for the study of artificial intelligence and computer learning. It is full of case studies, anecdotes and intriguing experiments. But at its heart are questions arising directly out of the authors' work in the sociology of science and the challenges of scientifically literate public decision- making.”

Rethinking Expertise is published by The University of Chicago Press and is now available from online booksellers such as


If you are unable to access the electronic versions of the articles listed above, the complete references are:

Robert P. Crease (2007) ‘Human Distilleries’, Nature 450 (15 November 2007), 350 - 351.

Matthew Reisz (2007) ‘Expert Opinions’, Times Higher Education Supplement, 7 December 2007, pp. 18-10



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Last updated on 2013-11-23 11 December, 2007

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