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'Philosophy in a Time of Crisis': Lecture by Professor Quassim Cassam (Warwick)
Title: 'Humility, Terror and the Other'
Intellectual humility requires a willingness to acknowledge and take ownership of one's intellectual limitations. These limitations include gaps in knowledge. Owning limitations that result from willful ignorance is false rather than genuine intellectual humility. Other forms of false humility include owning gaps in our knowledge that do not exist or that can be easily closed. In these terms, some accounts of our supposedly limited knowledge of the root causes and motives of terrorism are expressions of false humility. False humility is especially prevalent in relation to 'new terrorism', whose Middle Eastern practitioners are assumed to be irrational, implacable, and unknowable. The representation of terrorism and terrorists as beyond rational comprehension is a form of 'othering'. The othering of terrorism is rooted in what Edward Said describes as the Orientalist myth of the alien and fundamentally irrational Orient. There are strong empirical and conceptual objections to this approach. True intellectual humility in terrorism studies means recognising the inability of general models of terrorism to explain why some people but not others in the same situation resort to terrorism.
Response by Dr Amedeo Policante (Warwick)
Drinks and Nibbles at Radcliffe from 7.15pm.