Dr Benjamin Travis Rancourt

Teaching Assistant Professor

Biography

I earned my PhD in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, my MA in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and my BS in Physics from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching as NCSU, I have taught philosophy at Springfield College, William Peace University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. I have presented at conferences in the USA, Denmark, and Estonia. I enjoy philosophy.

Teaching and Research Interests

I have taught a wide variety of courses, including Medical Ethics, Epistemology, Logic, Existentialism, Philosophy of Religion, and Introduction to Philosophy.

I research epistemology, philosophy of science, and formal epistemology. My dissertation focused on the nature of understanding and its relation to successful inquiry. I have published papers about understanding based on false beliefs, epistemic relativism, skeptical theism, and the identification of heuristics. I am currently researching the potential for groups to understand a topic that no individual member of the group understands, justifications of the use of burdens of proof in deliberation, and epistemic standards within relativism.

Publications

The More Evidence Heuristic” (2016) Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5(6): 27-41.

“Better Understanding through Falsehood,” (2015) Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. DOI: 10.1111/papq.12134.

“Epistemic Relativism and Semantic Blindness,” (2015) Synthese 192(3): 859-876.

“Egoism or the Problem of Evil: A Dilemma for Sceptical Theism,” (2013) Religious Studies 49(3): 313-325.

Presentations

“Understanding: The Art of Cognitive Management,” Workshop on Explanation and Understanding, Aarhus University, May 19, 2016.

“The More Evidence Heuristic,” Tartu Graduate Conference in Social Epistemology, Tartu University, March 27, 2016.

“The Self as Intention Detector and Benefactor in Intention Puzzles,” 64th Annual Northwest Philosophy Conference, Oregon State University, October 27, 2012.

 

Education

  • PhD in Philosophy from University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2016
  • MA in Philosophy from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2009
  • BS in Physics from University of Minnesota, 2005