My name is Ben Winokur. I earned my B.A with joint honours in philosophy and peace and conflict studies from the University of Waterloo in 2013. I received my M.A in philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2014. I am now a Ph.D candidate in philosophy at York University in Toronto.


My foremost research specialization is the epistemology of self-knowledge. In particular, I think and write about whether, how, and to what extent we can possess 'privileged' or 'authoritative' knowledge of our own mental states. Such knowledge, according many to philosophers, is knowledge that is acquired in a unique way, or that is especially epistemically secure relative to other kinds of knowledge, or that is uniquely expressive of one's rational agency in one way or another. Some research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What exactly is so unique about privileged self-knowledge?
  • Is privileged self-knowledge of what one believes necessary for asserting what one believes?
  • Assuming that we have privileged self-knowledge, what is the ontological relationship between our first-order mental states and our privileged, knowledgeable beliefs about them?
  • Is having privileged self-knowledge rationally indispensable, instrumentally valuable, or neither?

You can read a short abstract of my dissertation in progress here.

I also have wider interests in epistemology.  These include interests in various kinds of epistemological skepticism, social epistemology, and epistemic normativity. The latter interest intersects with my work in metaethics, where I have argued in a recently published paper that, because we can disentangle moral and epistemic normativity at a conceptual level, one way of appealing to epistemic realism in order to justify moral realism fails.

Please see my CV if you are interested in learning more about my academic background. Please see my contact information if you are interested in discussing philosophy with me!

Copyright © 2018 Ben Winokur