Manufacture of Consensus: A Critical Examination of Government Approach to COVID-19 Recommendations

Description
Working Group, 2021-2022

Description of Activity

This working group will examine the extent to which the scientific consensus that is implicit in orders and recommendations from Health Canada during the Covid-19 pandemic satisfies the knowledge-based model of consensus and, indeed, how this consensus should be characterized. The working group will critically examine other non-cognitive explanations for this consensus, drawing on studies of social scientists, which indicate that members of a group can deliberately form a consensus despite their awareness that the consensual view falls short of knowledge; indeed, that people are likely to form the consensus whether the consensual view is true or not. The working group will also consider various explanations why consensus may fall short of the conditions for knowledge-based consensus.

Lead

  • Brian Baigrie, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Faculty Members at the University of Toronto

  • Joe Berkovitz, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Brian Feldman, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Health
  • Cory Lewis, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Ross Upshur, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Faculty Members outside the University of Toronto

  • Mat Mercuri, Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, McMaster University

Graduate Students at the University of Toronto

  • Austin Due, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Rachel Katz, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Aaron Kenna, FAS Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Undergraduate Students at the University of Toronto

  • Eric Emmenegger, FAS Chemistry
  • Lucy Perillat, FAS Molecular Genetics