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Epistemology for the Real World: Navigating in an Archipelago of Alt-Epistemology and Alt-Truth
WhenFriday, Jan. 19, 2018, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Campus roomHUB 332
Event typesConferences
Event sponsors

Department of Philosophy
Program on Values in Society
University of Washington


Epistemology for the Real World: Navigating in an Archipelago of Alt-Epistemology and Alt-Truth


Louise Antony, Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Carl Bergstrom, Department of Biology, UW
Kate Starbird, Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW
Jevin West, Information School, UW
Kevin Zollman, Department of Philosophy, Carnegie-Mellon University


9:30 am Coffee and tea

9:45 am Welcome

10:00 am “Calling BS in the Real World”
Carl Bergstrom, Professor of Biology, University of Washington
Jevin West, Assistant Professor, Information School, University
of Washington

11:30 am “Should Scientists Care about Truth?”
Kevin Zollman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Carnegie
Mellon University

12:45 pm Lunch

2:00 pm “Muddied Waters: Online Rumors, Conspiracy Theories
and Disinformation in the Context of Crisis Response”
Kate Starbird, Assistant Professor, Department of Human
Centered Design & Engineering, University of Washington

3:15 pm Break

3:30 pm “Truth Matters, But How Do We Find It?”
Louise Antony, Professor of Philosophy, University of
Massachusetts, Amherst

5:30 pm Closing

Louise Antony is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She studied philosophy at Syracuse University and the University of London, and received her BA from Syracuse in 1975. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1982. Professor Antony has done work in naturalistic epistemology and philosophy of mind, and in feminist philosophy, particularly feminist epistemology. Her work in these areas has been extremely influential. She has received many honors, including serving as President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association and as President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

Carl Bergstrom is Professor of Biology at the University of Washington. In his research, he uses mathematical models to understand biological and social processes. He draws upon tools from a number of disciplines, including game theory, network theory, information theory, stochastic processes, and dynamical systems. His main areas of research are: The dynamics of emerging infectious diseases; Risk, information, and evolution; the structure and economics of scientific publishing; the evolution of immune systems; and cellular population epigenetics.

Kate Starbird is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington (UW). Kate's research is situated within human-computer interaction (HCI) and the emerging field of crisis informatics—the study of the how information-communication technologies (ICTs) are used during crisis events. One aspect of her research focuses on how online rumors spread—and how online rumors are corrected—during natural disasters and man-made crisis events. More recently, she has begun exploring the propagation of “fake news”, disinformation and political propaganda through online spaces. Kate earned her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Technology, Media and Society and holds a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Jevin D. West is an Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington and co-founder of the DataLab. Broadly, he works in the area of data science, data reasoning and the science of science. Using millions of papers as his sandbox, he asks questions about the origins of scientific disciplines, the social and economic biases within science that drive these disciplines, and the impact the current publication system has on the health of science. To study these questions, he develops machine learning techniques for mining scientific text, citations, mathematical equations and figures. Example projects include and More details on his research and teaching can be found at:

Kevin J. S. Zollman is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting (Scientific American/FSG, 2016). Zollman’s research focuses on the use of mathematical models of social behavior in both humans and animals. Most recently, he has analyzed the effect of incentives on the social organization of science.

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