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Episode 9 - We are what we question, with Dr Anna Alexandrova

In this episode we ask an expert on expertise what she knows for sure. Dr Anna Alexandrova is a Reader in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and the principal investigator for the ‘Expertise Under Pressure’ group at CRASSH. Her latest research is co-authored with people currently in severe financial hardship, and combines their insights and lived experiences with conventional academic approaches to articulate a more authentic, democratic understanding of what it means to truly ‘flourish’ – work which could have significant impact on the government’s current wellbeing agenda. At a moment when expertise, globally, is under extreme pressure how can we make space for different ways of knowing? Is it reasonable to expect cast-iron certainty from our public experts? And what did Dr Alexandrova learn as a teenager that has shaped her whole career? Follow Anna Alexandrova and the Expertise Under Pressure team on Twitter via @ExpertiseUnder Anna’s writings can be found on her PhilPeople profile ( and her webpage ( Her 2017 book A Philosophy for the Science of Well-being is now available in paperback: You can find out about her ongoing work on responsible science of wellbeing ( by following the Bennett Institute for Public Policy @BennettInst. Some recent articles include “Wellbeing and Pluralism”(, “Happiness Economics as Technocracy” (, “Mental Health Without Wellbeing” ( And read more about national poverty charity Turn2Us and the co-production research work mentioned in this episode here:

About Thoughtlines

Thoughtlines brings you the best academic thinking outside the box from CRASSH at the University of Cambridge. The podcast is presented by Catherine Galloway and produced by Carl Homer at Cambridge TV. The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Cambridge. Founded in 2001, CRASSH came into being as a way to create interdisciplinary dialogue across the University’s many faculties and departments in the arts, social sciences and humanities, as well as to build bridges with scientific subjects. It has now grown into one of the largest humanities institutes in the world and is a major presence in academic life in the UK. It serves at once to draw together disciplinary perspectives in Cambridge and to disseminate new ideas to audiences across Europe and beyond. Access more episodes, subscribe, and learn more.