William Berger

PPE Fellow (2018-2021)

Ph.D., Political Science, The University of Michigan, 2015

Research Interests: 

My work seeks to inform democratic theory and political epistemology more broadly by drawing upon empirical results and formal methods in political science. My dissertation, entitled Affective Trust and the Role of Institutions in Conditioning Trust in Others, asks what role institutions play in creating trust. There is plenty of work already on how institutions condition our expectations by shaping the incentives of others or people’s default levels of trust. Not enough attention has been paid to affective elements of trust though, which is unfortunate given the amount of research it has elicited in the fields of psychology and philosophy. I talk to Christian missionaries who work in the developing world to better understand how they trust those to whom they preach.

On the computational end, I work in the Computational Social Philosophy Lab with Patrick GrimDaniel SingerAaron BramsonBennett HolmanKaren Kovaka, and Jiin Jung. We use elegant computer and analytic models to uncover the dynamics and plausibility of prominent conjectures in social epistemology, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. We've written papers on issues such as trust, polarization, and scientific experimentation.


Complex Systems Advanced Academic Workshop, Political Theory Workshop, Ethics Discussion Group, Computational Social Epistemology Lab.