Might Ignorance Be Bliss?


Might our judgementsor what we take to be evidencebe systematically biased or irrational? To what extent are we able to transcend our current perspectives? How do we handle the potential conflict between past and future versions of ourselves? And how do we resolve the conflicts between the demands of the evidence, the search for truth, and the moral and practical constraints we are subject to?

This weekend will introduce you to philosophical tools for thinking about how to manage and respond to evidence. On the one hand, evidence is usually valuable: the more we know, the better our decisions tend to be. On the other hand, sometimes knowing more makes us worse off---for example, when the evidence we gather is misleading, or we interpret it in a biased way. We will explore how to reason about these trade-offs in a precise way, to determine when (and why) it does (and doesnt) make sense to continue gathering evidence before making a decision.

Programme details

Saturday 7 May 2022

2.45pm  Course Registration

3.00pm  The costs and benefits of learning. (Or: Why you might not want to take this course.) BERNHARD SALOW

4.30pm  Tea / coffee

5.00pm  Epistemic Resilience, RACHEL FRASER                       

6.30pm  Break / bar open

7.00pm  Dinner

8.15pm  Epistemic risks: biased and misleading evidence, BERNHARD SALOW    

9.30pm  End of day

Sunday 8 May 2022

8.15am  Breakfast (residents only)

9.30am  The ethics of ignorance, RACHEL FRASER  

10.45am  Coffee / tea

11.15am  Question and answer session 

12.30pm  Break / bar open

1.00pm  Lunch

2.00pm  Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition (includes tea/coffee) £90.00
Baguette Sunday £5.50
Single B&B Saturday Night £89.00
Single Room Only Saturday Night £76.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Professor Rachel Fraser


Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Bernhard Salow


Bernhard Salow was born in Germany, and grew up in Germany, Mali, and Tunisia. He first came to Oxford for an undergraduate degree in Maths and Philosophy, followed by the BPhil in Philosophy. Bernhard then went to MIT for a PhD in Philosophy, and Trinity College Cambridge for a Junior Research Fellowship, before returning to Oxford in 2018 as an Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen College. 


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only. If you would like to book a double or a twin room, please email ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.