Sept. 27, 2022

Department of Philosophy welcomes Julia Smith as SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow for 2022-2024

The Department of Philosophy welcomes Julia Smith as SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow for 2022-2024. Dr. Smith's research interests relate to disagreement, including whether rational disagreement is possible, how we ought to regulate our own beliefs in the face of disagreement, and the conditions under which changing our most fundamental beliefs can be rational. She obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2020 and also holds an MA in Philosophy from Northern Illinois University and a BA from Princeton University. Previously, she was a Contractually Limited Assistant Professor in the teaching stream at the University of Toronto."

Julia will be a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department from September 2022 through June 2024, working with Dr. Jeremy Fantl. Her research will be funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. While at UCalgary, she hopes to conduct research on how we should react when confronted with higher-order evidence: evidence about the quality or character of our first-order evidence. There are lots of ways of acquiring higher-order evidence: encountering the disagreement of a peer, learning that you're seriously sleep-deprived, learning that there's a significant possibility that the video you just watched is a deepfake. Learning any of these things can cast doubt on the conclusions you arrived at based on your initial reasoning; they're all reasons to think that your initial evidence doesn't actually support what you first thought it did. She is especially interested in the significance of higher-order evidence in online environments, and how becoming aware of the epistemically pernicious features of these environments (e.g. their tendency to amplify certain kinds of content and present biased or misleading evidence for a position) may change our obligations as inquirers.