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This article offers a perspective on the debate about experts and their value. It considers why expert claims for attention are often regarded as suspect. It does so by reflecting on the work of Arendt, Oakeshott, and Scruton. It notes that decision makers can easily find themselves in a bind - sometimes railing against experts, like those presumed to inhabit an education ‘Blob’ in the UK - and at other times seemingly becoming dependent upon them, as in ‘the Science’ and public health. It draws attention to the character of the distaste for scepticism about experts within education, and to the intellectual origin of that scepticism itself. It highlights the alleged contradictions in the minds of sceptics especially where they want to conserve or draw strength from inherited social norms, and yet at the same time regard them as a dehumanising trap. It suggests that the contradiction can be overcome by distinguishing between their concerns about the dangers of rationalism, and their rooted attachment to reason and reasonableness. It invites practitioners to take a principled interest in risk and in its resistance to elimination. It suggests that ridicule can be healthy in so far as it deftly challenges complacency amongst experts and practitioners alike.
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