Article | Open Access
Epistemic Dependence and the EU Seal Ban Debate
Abstract: On September 2009 the European Union (EU) adopted a regulation banning the import of seal products into the EU or placing seal products on the EU market. The European Parliament was the main driving force behind the regulation and the EU has been criticised by affected countries outside the EU for not basing this decision on the available expert knowledge. The questions asked are how, given epistemic dependence, non-experts may challenge an expert based policy proposal. Can non-experts hold experts accountable, and if so in what way? Three main tests and ten subtests of expert knowledge are proposed and these tests are then used to assess whether the European Parliament did in fact argue in a way consistent with available expert knowledge in amending the Commission proposal for a regulation.
Keywords: accountability; democracy; epistemic dependence; European Parliament; expert knowledge; globalisation; seal ban
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