Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Nottingham


Ignorance and Irrationality in Politics

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A Workshop at the University of Nottingham
June 10-11

A common belief is that democracies require informed voters if they are to function well. But when the price to be adequately informed is too high, it makes sense for voters to guide their beliefs by their desire for comfort, affiliation, and belonging. Does this conflict with the epistemic demands of democracy? If it is true, as some political scientist and psychologists allege, that political belief-formation is primarily driven by social identities and ‘tribal’ allegiances, does this make us irrational? What is required for epistemically responsible belief formation in the domain of politics?

The workshop will explore two issues: the extent and causes of citizen ignorance, and whether (and in what ways) belief formation in politics is epistemically irrational, even if it may reflect instrumental rationality on the part of citizens.



Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij
Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck, London

Bobby Duffy
Director of the Policy Institute, King’s College London

Ilya Somin
Professor of Law at George Mason University

Zeynep Pamuk
Supernumerary Fellow in Politics at St. John’s, Oxford

Robin McKenna
Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool

Helene Landemore (tbc)
Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Booking link coming soon.


This workshop is generously sponsored by