The Death of Expertise - Tom Nichols in Person


Friday, January 13, 2017, 5:00pm to 7:30pm


One Brattle Square, 1 Brattle Square Room 201, Second Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols

Come hear Harvard Extension faculty member and widely published author Tom Nichols discuss why people reject expert knowledge, how this harms our democracy, and what we can do about it. Reception and networking starts at 5:00pm, lecture followed by discussion begins at 6:00pm.

Why do people reject expert knowledge, and how does this harm our democracy? How serious is this problem, and what can we do about it?

According to widely published author and lecturer at Harvard Extension Tom Nichols, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement.

Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy - or in the worst case, a combination of both. The presentation is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.

Come join us for a pre-event reception from 5:00-6:00pm, followed by an in-person presentation hosted by Tom Nichols. Passed hors-d'oeuvres and light refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so please reserve early and contact, if your plans to attend change.

This event is for current, registered students of Harvard Extension School only.

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