2017-18 Humility and Conviction in Public Life Residential Fellows

FALL 2017


Tracy Llanera (Philosophy – Macquarie University)

"Combatting Egotism:  Intellectual Humility as Self-Enlargement"

Tracy Llanera works at the inter- section of philosophy of religion and social and political philosophy. Her research engages new ways of thinking about nihilism and ethics in contemporary life. She was awarded her Ph.D. in philosophy in April 2016 by Macquarie University, Australia. Her work has appeared in Philosophy and Social Criticism, Contemporary Pragmatism, Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory and the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. She has taught in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University and at the University of Santo Tomas (Philippines). Her academic webpage is https://tracyllanera.com/.

During her residential fellowship (FALL 2017) she aims to develop the concepts of egotism and self-enlargement – ideas inspired by the American pragmatist Richard Rorty – as ways of understanding what the virtue of intellectual humility might mean in the healthy functioning of a modern liberal democracy. In particular, she plans to fashion the idea of self-enlargement in a manner that is indebted to the pluralist conception of intellectual humility.


Ufuk Topkara (Islamic Theology – University of Paderborn)

"The Convergence of Reason and Faith: Breaking Through the Fabricated Barriers to Discourse  and Truth"

Ufuk Topkara is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Post Graduate Program in Islamic Theology, University of Paderborn.

During his residential fellowship (FALL 2017) he will be working on a project entitled, “The Convergence of Reason and Faith: Breaking Through the Fabricated Barriers to Discourse and Truth”. Working within Islamic-Philosophical theology, Ufuk’s project will be to address the severed linkages between scientific knowledge and theology.



James R. Beebe (Philosophy, University of Buffalo)

"Humble Conviction in the Face of Peer Disagreement"

James R. Beebe is Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Experimental Epistemology Research Group, and Member of the Center for Cognitive Science University at Buffalo (SUNY). Within epistemology, the subfield of philosophy devoted to questions about the nature of knowledge and rationally justified belief, his writings have focused on the fallibility and limits of human knowl- edge. He is currently writing a book about the history of philosophical challenges to our ability to fully understand the world around us, entitled The Limits of Skepticism. He is also a leading researcher within the experimental philosophy movement, where he employs the tools of the cognitive and social sciences to investigate how people think about knowledge, evidence, and objectivity. He is the editor of Advances in Experimental Epistemology and edits the book series Advances in Experimental Philosophy. His work has appeared in Noûs, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Quarterly, Mind & Language, Philosophical Psychology, Journal of Cognition and Culture, Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, A Companion to Experimental Philosophy, and Philosophy Compass.

During his residential fellowship (SPRING 2018) Professor Beebe will undertake a multidisciplinary investigation of humble conviction in the face of peer disagreement and contradictory expert testimony. After gathering data on how various experts and exemplary lay persons think such matters should be handled, he will endeavor to construct a new measure of humble conviction in the face of disagreement


Richard Frieder (Community Capacity Builders)

"Employing Dialogue and Deliberation to Foster Humility and Achieve Community Driven Change  in Hartford"

Richard Frieder is a community engagement consultant working with Community Capacity Builders in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a senior associate with Everyday Democracy. Richard served as community-engagement director for Hartford Public Library (HPL) from 2001-2016. At HPL he conceived of and built the Center for Civic Engagement, which won two national Innovators Awards from the Urban Libraries Council (2010 and 2013). He also led HPL’s participation in Libraries Transforming Communities, an initiative of the American Library Association and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. Richard has recently been leading community dialogues in partnership with Hartford residents, the Hartford Police Department, and Hartford’s Faith Based Initiative focusing on community violence and strengthening community-police relations. He co-founded and is a leader of the Hartford Decide$ participatory budgeting initiative, the first of its kind in Connecticut, and was a founder of and still co- leads the Hartford Votes~Hartford Vota Coalition, a partnership of 14 organizations devoted to increasing voter engagement. He is also an active board member of Hartford 2000, the umbrella organization for Hartford’s fourteen Neighborhood Revitalization Zones. Richard holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Chicago.

During his residential fellowship (SPRING 2018) he will design a pilot plan to employ dialogue and deliberation to achieve community driven change in Hartford while promoting humility in public discourse.