Ideology, Rationality, and Choice in an Election Year
Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 pm
Wait Chapel, Wake Forest University

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899–1977)

  • What obligation do we have, as citizens in a democracy, to be informed about issues of public importance, such as the human impact on climate, or the causes of economic inequality?
  • Is the media a positive or negative factor in our democracy today?
  • What is the relationship between ideology and belief? How are our convictions and our actions influenced by our psychology, our cultural context, and our ideological biases?

Join us for a panel discussion of these and other important questions.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, the Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Department of Philosophy and the Thomas Jack Lynch Philosophy Fund, Department of Psychology, School of Law, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Department of Communications, Wake the Vote, College Democrats, The Arch Society, The Euzelian Society and Student Environmental Action Coalition.


Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University.  Professor Oreskes’s research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. Prior to her appointment at Harvard, she spent 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  She received her PhD in the Graduate Special Program in Geological Research and History of Science at Stanford. (

Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, where he teaches both in New York and in Abu Dhabi and at other NYU global centers. Appiah’s book Cosmopolitanism is a manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. He has previously taught at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Ghana. Appiah was raised in Ghana and educated at Cambridge University, where he received a PhD in philosophy. (

Dan Kahan 

Dan Kahan is Professor of Law and Psychology at Yale Law School. His primary research interests are risk perception, science communication, and the application of decision science to law and policy making. He is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project, an interdisciplinary team of scholars who use empirical methods to examine the impact of group values on perceptions of risk and related facts. Prior to coming to Yale in 1999, Professor Kahan was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School. He received a JD from Harvard Law School. (

Moderated by Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry 

Click here to download the event poster.