Ben Almassi, Ph.D.

  Assistant Professor
  708-534-4022 ext. 4022
  Office Location:


  College: CAS
  Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Philosophers are fond of quoting Plato that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and lately this familiar phrase has resonated more fully with me: the driving and deeply inspiring challenge here is to reflect upon what is worthy of a life well lived, and the truth is that all of our lives are deserving of examination. But we need not embark on fearless self-examination in lonely or isolated pursuit.  We are resources for one another; we can know together through trusting and trustworthy dependence what we cannot so easily know alone.  Above all, this immense potential for collaborative inquiry is what has excited me this year as I have joined the faculty at Governors State University. From social work to criminal justice, from healthcare to chemistry, from counseling to business administration, there are many excellent existing programs at GSU that philosophy can fruitfully complement, and I am excited about the opportunity to build our GSU philosophy program into a valuable, trustworthy resource for our colleagues, our students, and our community.

Prior to arriving at GSU in August 2013, I spent four years as an assistant professor of philosophy and humanities at the College of Lake County, an excellent community college in the North Chicago suburbs. I earned my doctorate in philosophy in 2009 from the University of Washington in Seattle, where I wrote my dissertation on the role of trust in expert testimony in scientific knowledge. Both CLC and the UW afforded me invaluable experience teaching philosophy courses of many varieties, and further, in finding balance among teaching, research, service, family, and personal fulfillments. While I will always love Seattle for its mountains and coffee, I am a Midwesterner at heart, growing up in Cincinnati, then studying physics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Purdue University.

I am excited and grateful to be a part of the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, a volunteer group of college and university instructors teaching college-level humanities and arts courses at Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum security prison near Joliet. Our students at Stateville are hungry to learn, and I look forward to opportunities to foster connections between this work and restorative justice students and scholars here at Governors State.

Research interests:

I find myself interested in philosophical issues at intersections of social epistemology and practical ethics. For me this includes things like epistemology of testimony and disagreement, epistemology of experimentation, the role of trust in scientific practice, ethics of expertise, standpoint theory and situated knowledge, epistemic injustice, informed consent in medical research and clinical care, the nature of health and disability, community-based participatory research, and global climate change.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles:

(2013). "Medical Ghostwriting and Informed Consent"


(2012). "Climate Change, Epistemic Trust, and Expert Trustworthiness"           

Ethics and the Environment , 17(2) 

(2012). "Climate Change and the Ethics of Individual Emissions: A Response to Sinnott-Armstrong"

Perspectives: International Postgraduate Journal of Philosophy, 4, 4-21.


(2011). "The Consequences of Individual Consumption: A Defense of Threshold Arguments for Vegetarianism and Consumer Ethics"

Journal of Applied Philosophy, 28(4), 396-411.

(2010). "Disability, Functional Diversity, and Trans/feminism"

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 3(2), 126-149.

(2009). "Conflicting Expert Testimony and the Search for Gravitational Waves"

Philosophy of Science, 76(5), 570-584. 

(2009). "Trust in Expert Testimony: Eddington's Eclipse Expedition & the British Response to General Relativity". Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 40(1), 57-67.


Book Reviews:

A Defense of Ignorance: Its Value for Knowers and Roles in Feminist and Social Epistemologies, by Cynthia Townley (Lexington Books, 2011)

Hypatia 27(2)


The Philosophy of Expertise, edited by E. Selinger & R. Crease (Columbia University Press, 2006)

Ethics 117(2)


Chapters in Edited Anthologies:

"Expertise in Agriculture: Scientific and Ethical Issues"

Encyclopedia of Food & Agricultural Ethics

P. Thompson and D. Kaplan (eds.)



"Public Understanding of Climate Science and the Ethics of Expertise"

Between Scientists & Citizens

J. Goodwin (ed.)

Great Plains Society for Study of Argumentation


"Feminist Allyship in The Big Lebowski"

The Big Lebowski and Philosophy

P. Fosl (ed.)

Open Court Press


Recent & Upcoming Conference Presentations:

"Epistemic Justice in Scientific Publication and Research Misconduct"

IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Engineering & Technology


May 2014

"Feminist Allyship and Feminist Reclamations of Masculinity"

Northeast Modern Languages Association Convention

Harrisburg PA

April 2014

"Social Epistemology of E-prints in Scientific Practice"

Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice Biennial Meeting

Toronto ON

June 2013          

"Peer Review in an ArXival Age"

Choosing the Future of Science: Social Organization of Scientific Inquiry

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

April 2013

"Trusting Other Philosophers: Intellectual Virtue or Vice?"

Conference on Value Inquiry

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green KY

April 2013

"Environmental Restoration as Moral Repair and Cultivation of Environmental Trustworthiness"

Advancing Public Philosophy Conference

Emory University

Atlanta GA

March 2013

"Experts, Evidence, and Epistemic Independence". Spontaneous Generations, 1(1), 58-66.