Department of Philosophy

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Michael Hannon

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts



I am an Associate Professor specializing in epistemology and political philosophy. Previously, I was Deputy Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London. I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2013, and I grew up in Toronto.

I am also the Director of the Aristotelian Society (the oldest and largest philosophical society in the UK) and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy in London. I was previously a Fellow-in-Residence at the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, a Faculty Fellow at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, and a Visiting Research Fellow on the 'Knowledgeable Democracy' project at VU Amsterdam.

Teaching Summary

Knowledge and Justification

Knowledge, Ignorance, and Democracy

Research Summary

As a social and political epistemologist, I study the relationship between knowledge, politics, and practical life. There are two sides to my research:

On the one hand, I use the theoretical tools of epistemology to better understand social and political issues. I have written about the value of empathy in politics, the role of truth in political discourse, the epistemic dysfunctions of democracy, and other topics at the intersection of epistemology and political philosophy. Some questions that animate my research include: What is the proper role of truth in politics? Is intellectual humility compatible with political conviction? Are better educated citizens a bigger threat to democracy than ignorant ones? Is there a moral duty to speak your mind?

On the other hand, I examine how practical life bears on theoretical issues in epistemology. As a pragmatist, I investigate philosophical issues from a practical point of view. In my book, What's the Point of Knowledge? (OUP 2019), I argue that humans think and speak of 'knowing' to identify reliable sources of information, which is vital for human cooperation, survival, and flourishing. I use this idea to shed light on topics such as: the social foundations of epistemic normativity, the level of justification required for knowledge, and skepticism. I have been further developing this type of epistemic pragmatism in recent work.

Recent Publications

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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