I am a philosopher-scientist studying reasoning, well-being, and technology. In 2020, I received my Ph.D from Florida State University and began a fellowship with the Intelligence Community. After that, I joined Stevens Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor. I also co-edit the Brains blog with Dan Burnston.
My research combines philosophy of cognitive science and cognitive science of philosophy. Existing projects examine how we can improve human reasoning, how psychological factors can explain our philosophical thinking, how network effects can impact human welfare, and what we can (and cannot) infer from cognitive science. These projects aim to better understand human psychology in order to improve human flourishing. Funding for this work has come from the Intelligence Community, the John Templeton Foundation, Duke University, and Florida State University.
Over 250,000 people from 195 countries have found my research on this website. My work has also been featured in press releases, radio segments, podcasts interviews, invited blog posts, conference presentations, social media posts, and other mediums in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. For more information, including free prints and audio of my latest accepted papers, see byrdnick.com/cv. To find out more, see below, follow me online, or contact me.
My mother was an accountant, a jeweler, and a social worker. My father was a restaurant owner and restaurant product salesman. I grew up in Massachusetts and South Florida. Since I was a kid, I liked building stuff — with Lego, wood, metal, motors/engines, …whatever I could get my hands on, really. As a teenager, my favorite classes were the ones in which I got to make stuff, use computers, argue, or some combination thereof. One of my first (and favorite) jobs was building and remodeling homes. When I wasn’t at school or at work, I was doing track, soccer, football, band, church, theatre, video games, or volunteer stuff. [Jump To Top]
As a teenager, I enjoyed — among other things — reading and writing about how things work. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to do this full-time. So when I started college, I majored in Engineering and Religion. I guess I thought that those were the paths to figuring out how things work. A few years into college, I changed my mind. I realized that philosophy is more foundational than either engineering or religion: it is meta-engineering and meta-religion. So I became a philosophy major. A few more years passed and, in graduate school, I changed my mind again. I realized that cognitive science is more foundational than philosophy: it reveals how philosophical thinking works. So now cognitive science is the keystone in my answers to most philosophical questions. [Jump To Top]
I post about what I’m thinking, reading, writing, etc. on social media. And I post my academic stuff on academic social networks. You can follow along at the links below:
When I am not working, I enjoy time my spouse and/or my cat, travel, outdoor recreation, and stand-up comedy. Left to myself, I like to exercise, make stuff, and go to bed early. You can follow some of these activities on Instagram and Strava. [Jump To Top]
Has anyone ever told you…?
Yes. I hear that I look like Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Kerr, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., but only when I’m not at home. And no, it’s not annoying. I’m happy to be associated with well-liked, talented people.