The University at Buffalo Department of Philosophy is pelase to announce that James R. Beebe
, Professor of Philosophy, has been awarded a $234,000 research grant from the John Templeton Foundation
to study the philosophy and psychology of intellectual autonomy. The three-year project aims to deepen understanding of how to balance a healthy reliance upon our own reasoning and decision making with a robust awareness of the fallibility of our cognitive capacities. On the one hand, overestimating our intellectual abilities and achievements can lead us to dismiss the testimony of peers and experts when they disagree with us, closing us off to potentially valuable information. On the other hand, focusing too much on our intellectual limitations and weaknesses can result in insufficient self-trust and an excessive deference toward the opinions and reasoning of others. Knowing how to balance intellectual self-reliance with intellectual humility can be especially difficult when navigating contentious public debates that are marked by increasing polarization and massive amounts of misinformation that are disguised as fact.