The Workbench is a series of conversations about the craft of academic writing, hosted by Nathan Ballantyne.

Ballantyne is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Cognition, and Culture at Arizona State University. He writes on questions about reasoning, biases, and epistemic humility. He received his B.A. Honours in philosophy at Victoria College in the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. He is author of Knowing Our Limits and co-editor (with David Dunning) of Reason, Bias, and Inquiry: The Crossroads of Epistemology and Psychology, both from Oxford University Press. Some of his public-facing writing has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Forbes. He is on Twitter as @nathanballan and you can reach him at


“If we have no appreciation of how things are made, we are very unlikely to be able to take them apart. In fact, we may even come to believe that the things are not made at all, but that they are divinely gifted or are part of the natural order.”

Steven Shapin, “‘The Mind Is Its Own Place’: Science and Solitude in Seventeenth-Century England” (1991)


This website was designed and built by n loewen.

The text is set in Work Sans and Merriweather.

The design is inspired by vintage literary magazines and handmade zines, and by the faded appearance of a photocopy of a photocopy.

The site’s accent colour is the aniline purple that was a hallmark of quick-and-cheap copies made using a ditto machine—an old technology that was displaced by photocopiers.

Thanks to Matthew Altman-Suchocki, Brenda Ballantyne, Matthew Ballantyne, Andrew Bailey, Carlo DaVia, Joseph Fridman, Nick Loewen, William Lycan, Joan McGregor, Clifford Sosis, Jada Strabbing, Craig Warmke, Shane Wilkins, Benjamin Wilson—and the writers who agreed to discuss their craft with me.