Nathan Ballantyne

I am a philosopher at Fordham University in New York City.

Questions about improving human judgment and inquiry are central to my research. During times of conflict and uncertainty in society, problems of knowledge and rational opinion bubble up to the surface: What do we know? Whom should we trust? How can we improve our beliefs? It’s the traditional mandate of epistemology to grapple with such questions, and my research aims to give inquirers good cognitive advice by blending philosophical reflection with insights from the sciences.

In Knowing Our Limits (Oxford University Press, September 2019), I describe a multidisciplinary approach for thinking about controversial topics, helping us distinguish between our reasonable and unreasonable opinions. I am pursing new work on the dynamics of open-minded inquiry, the nature of conformist thinking, the use of “moral shock” as a persuasion technique, and issues of trust and distrust in experts.

With the psychologist David Dunning, I have co-edited a collection of new essays by epistemologists and psychologists, currently in press with Oxford University Press. The volume is entitled Reason, Bias, and Inquiry: New Perspectives from the Crossroads of Epistemology and Psychology.

Beyond epistemology, I am interested in the philosophy of psychology, ethics, and the history of philosophy (especially the 20th century in the United States and 17th century in Europe). I’ve collaborated with lots of philosophers and scientists, including psychologists at the University of Southern California’s Mind and Society Center and UC Irvine’s Hot Cognition Lab.

Some of my public writing appears in Scientific American (here and here), and I have been interviewed about my research on ‘epistemic trespassing’ in Forbes. I’ve received grants from the John Templeton Foundation and they recently asked me about my background.

I am also an Executive Editor of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.