Julia Staffel
Assistant Professor

Hellems 277

T 11:00-12:00, R 9:00-10:00, and by appointment

Teaching in Spring 21: PHIL 1440 sections 100, 200

Julia Staffel (Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2013) joined the department in Fall 2018. Prior to coming to Boulder, she worked at Washington University in St. Louis and the Australian National University.

Professor Staffel specializes in epistemology, with a focus on formal epistemology. She also has research and teaching interests in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, logic, and metaethics.

Her work focuses, among other things, on the question of how to make idealized formal models in epistemology applicable and relevant to human, non-ideal thinkers. Her book manuscript "Unsettled Thoughts: A Theory of Degrees of Rationality" is under contract with OUP. In it, she explains how Bayesian theories of ideal rationality can be used to account for the idea that rationality comes in degrees. Imperfect reasoners can approximate ideal rationality more or less. The guiding questions for her investigation are: Why should imperfect reasoners approximate ideal rationality if they can never fully reach the ideal? Why is it better to be closer to being ideally rational than farther away from it? How exactly should we characterize approximations to ideal rationality?

The work on her book manuscript was supported by a research fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and a First Book Fellowship from Washington University in St. Louis.

In her free time, Professor Staffel pursues hobbies that involve textiles in various forms, such as knitting and aerial silks.

For more information on Professor Staffel's teaching and research, including a complete list of publications, see her CV.

Her publications are available via her personal website:

Or her profile on philpeople:

Selected Papers:

  • "How Do Beliefs Simplify Reasoning?" forthcoming in Noûs.
  • "Why be (approximately) coherent?" with Glauber De Bona, forthcoming in Analysis.
  • "Expressivism, Normative Uncertainty, and Arguments for Probabilism," forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
  • "Attitudes in Active Reasoning," forthcoming in Reasoning. New Essays on Theoretical and Practical Thinking, edited by Magdalena Balcerak Jackson and Brendan Balcerak Jackson, OUP.
  • "Should I pretend I'm perfect?" in: Res Philosophica 94 (2), 2017, special issue "Bridging Formal and Traditional Epistemology." pp. 301-324.
  • "Graded Incoherence for Accuracy-Firsters," with Glauber De Bona, Philosophy of Science 84 (2), 2017, pp. 189-213.
  • "Beliefs, Buses and Lotteries," in: Philosophical Studies 173 (7), 2016, pp. 1721-1734.