New Post: "I Do Listen to the Experts. Do YOU?"

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New Post: "I Do Listen to the Experts. Do YOU?"

Post by proto57 »

From a couple of weeks ago, actually: ... ts-do-you/

And two interesting discussions were sparked on the Voynich Ninjas by this, with pages and pages of comments. Here is the first thread, started by me:

And this thread is titled "Expert Opinion", and started by Mark Knowles:

Whether one agrees with my premise(s) or not, some may find this an interesting discussion.

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"Man is the measure of all things: What is, that it is; what is not, that it is not"- Protagoras

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Re: New Post: "I Do Listen to the Experts. Do YOU?"

Post by DianeOD »

Thanks for posting this, and for your usual generosity in recommending conversations in another forum. I've followed the link and (you were right) it's an interesting conversation.

Apart from your own comments (or what can be seen of them when linked information is unavailable to outsiders), those by asteckley I thought especially thought-provoking. For other members here who might not have seen those comments, they ran in part..
While who is or isn't an expert is entirely subjective, I can think of several very reasonable criteria:

* substantial experience dealing directly with the topic

* knowledgeable on the broad set of facts about the topic and on the history of activity on it

* a depth and breadth of applied research on the topic

* active participation in discussions with the community of researchers around the topic

* a considered opinion on specific aspects of the topic

* a continual accumulation of information about the topic.

Those gave a new, and helpful insight into how other Voynich researchers see the matter. Until then, it had never occurred to me that Voynich researchers might regard a person as expert in a topic, without assuming that person would need knowledge of the subject(s) within which the topic can be considered a sub-set. But of course asteckley (Andrew?) is quite right. We see this on quiz-shows all the time, where people have become experts in, say, the 1954 Olympics only. I suppose it re-defines 'the topic' as a discrete set of data-points and side-steps the issue of qualitative judgement, so crucial in what specialists do in the critical sciences - history, art-history and so on.

Another point I found intriguing, and which started another line of questioning is that - given this perception of Voynich studies as an isolated topic - how one could define "community of researchers".

I have to say that for my work the 'community of researchers' has always been assumed to consist of hundreds of people, past and present, who communicate mainly through their publications. There's no difference, then, between comments made on a point by Lyn Thorndike in the 1920s, or by a paper published in the 1950s, or one published just last week. I'd never really thought about it before as a 'community' in this sense, though now I suppose it could be called a conceptual community, engaged in a kind of 'meta-dialogue' which by-passes barriers of time, place and (to greater or lesser extent) language.

But how does this impact definitions of 'expertise'? A person with a theory that the Voynich manuscript is the product of seventeenth century Rudolfine culture might consider an historian of the Rudolfine court a relevant 'expert', where another Voynich theory-holder might not. ,,

A group which defines itself as a 'community' of researchers - say a colloquium of doctors of theology discussing the adjustments made (or not) to permit the Byzantine-Latin reconciliation - might reject a paper from someone trying to discuss the differences between medieval Byzantine and Latin definitions of magic. Whether relevant or not, whether or not by a historian who has specialised in Byzantine-Latin relations, the self-defining 'community' also makes their own definition of the topic. Or does it? And how does it do so? And is it reasonable to think in such terms about a single manuscript in the Beinecke Library?

That's enough about my thoughts. I'd be interested to hear others.

Sincere thanks to asteckley for such lucid and insightful comments.

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