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Quassim Cassam

In brief: I'm a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Warwick and an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. I was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and have lived in the UK since I was a teenager. I have published seven books on a range of subjects, including self-knowledge, perception, intellectual vices, extremism, and conspiracy theories. My current research is on liberation epistemology, extremism, the philosophy of terrorism, and the philosophy of general practice. In the 2021/22 academic year I will be doing all my teaching in term 2: an honours module on the Philosophy of Terrorism and Counterterrorism and a first year module on Knowledge, Ignorance and Bullshit. I am the Director of Research for the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Philosophy Sub-panel for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021). You can read more about me and listen to a range of podcasts and interviews on my personal website.

My books: My latest book is Extremism: A Philosophical Analysis, published in 2021. I published two books in 2019: Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political (Oxford University Press) and Conspiracy Theories. (Polity Press). A review of Vices of the Mind in the New Statesman describes it as 'superb' and 'icily furious'. The journal Mind describes it as 'a landmark in the study of epistemic vices'. An extract from the book is available here. An extract from Conspiracy Theories is available here. My previous books were Self-Knowledge for Humans (Oxford 2014), Berkeley's Puzzle: What Does Experience Teach Us? (Oxford 2014, written with John Campbell), The Possibility of Knowledge (Oxford 2007), and Self and World (Oxford 1997). The 20th anniversary of the publication of Self and World was marked by this event at Senate House, London, in 2017. There have also been conferences on my work in Frankfurt, Cologne, Konstanz, Padua, and Amsterdam.

I am represented by the Wylie Agency.

My career: I've been at Warwick since 2009 and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of Keble College, Oxford, in 2021. I was previously Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge and Professor of Philosophy at UCL. I was a Professorial Fellow of King's College, Cambridge and have also held Visiting Professorships at the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University. However, most of my career was spent at Oxford, where I read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) as an undergraduate at Keble College. I had the good fortune to be taught by James Griffin (Philosophy), Larry Siedentop (Politics), and Paul Collier (Economics). I went on to do a B.Phil. and then a D.Phil. on transcendental arguments, supervised for the most part by Sir Peter Strawson and briefly by David Wiggins. My first job in philosophy was at Oriel College, Oxford, as Fellow and Lecturer. I moved to Wadham College, Oxford, in 1986 and spent 18 years there as Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy before moving to UCL in 2005, Cambridge in 2007, and Warwick in 2009.

My grants: I was awarded a Mind Senior Research Fellowship for 2012-3. The resulting book was Self-Knowledge for Humans. In 2016 I was awarded a Leadership Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for an 18 month project on intellectual vices ('Vice Epistemology'). The resulting book was Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political . I discuss some of the book's main ideas in this article for the Philosophers' Magazine, in this podcast with Sean Carroll, and also in this conversation with Robert Talisse on the New Books Network. An edited volume called Vice Epistemology, co-edited with Heather Battaly (University of Connecticut) and Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham), was published in 2020. The Vice Epistemology project also gave rise workshops on professional vices and virtues in modern medicine, the epistemology of counterterrorism, and resistance to change. You can hear me discussing resistance to change in this podcast. I currently have an AHRC Research Networking grant for a project called 'Rethinking the Philosophy of Terrorism'. My co-investigator is Professor Richard English.

Media: I summarized my ideas about conspiracy theories in this article for the New Statesman. I was also interviewed about conspiracy theories on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky News, and ABC Radio, Australia. My TEDx talk on conspiracy theories, which I gave in 2017, has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube. I recently launched a website on Professional Virtues in Modern Medicine and I also run a website on self-knowledge. I have written about self-knowledge for the New York Times, about conspiracy theorists for Aeon, about head transplants for CNN, and voluntary euthanasia for The Guardian. I have appeared on Newsnight (BBC2), Sky News, The Moral Maze (BBC Radio 4), The World Tonight (BBC Radio 4) and Free Thinking (BBC Radio 3). My work has been cited by The Guardian, The Financial Times, the Irish Times, and The Economist. I am also on Twitter (@QCassam).

There is more about my life and career in this episode of Talking to Thinkers with Johnny Lyons, this interview with the Freethink Tank, and this one with the American Philosophical Association. My CV and publications, including open access versions of some published papers, are available here.

 

Quassim Cassam

Professor of Philosophy

q.cassam@warwick.ac.uk

Advice and Feedback hours: on leave in term 1.