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Quassim Cassam


I've been at Warwick since 2009. Before coming to Warwick I was 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 went on to do a B.Phil. and then a D.Phil., supervised for the most part by Sir Peter Strawson. 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 my move to UCL.

Since moving to Warwick I have been Head of Department and President of The Aristotelian Society. I was awarded a Mind Senior Research Fellowship for 2012-13 to enable me to write a book on self-knowledge. The resulting book, Self-Knowledge for Humans, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Also published in 2014 was Berkeley's Puzzle: What Does Experience Teach Us?, which I wrote jointly with John Campbell. My previous books were Self and World (1997) and The Possibility of Knowledge (2007). There is more information about my career and interests in this interview with the Freethink Tank and this one with the American Philosophical Association.

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, Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. I discuss some of the book's main ideas in this interview with the Oxford Review of Books. An edited volume called Vice Epistemology, co-edited with Heather Battaly (University of Connecticut) and Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham) has been commissioned by Routledge and is in preparation. The project also gave rise to a series of workshops, on professional vices in modern medicine, the epistemology of counterterrorism, and resistance to change. You can hear me discussing resistance to change in this podcast.

I've just finished writing a short book on conspiracy theories for Polity Press. It will be published in September 2019. My current research is on the epistemology of ignorance, the philosophy of terrorism and counterterrorism, and the philosophy of extremism. A book called Extremism: A Philosophical Analysis is under contract with Routledge. I'm also continuing to work on the philosophy of medicine. In 2017 I published this paper on overconfidence and diagnostic error. In November 2018 I ran a workshop on Professional Virtues in Modern Medicine.

I run a website on self-knowledge and have written about self-knowledge for the New York Times. The website is here and the article is here. I have written about conspiracy theorists for Aeon, about head transplants for CNN, and voluntary euthanasia for The Guardian. I also recorded a philosophy bites podcast on conspiracy theories. In 2017 I gave a TEDx talk on conspiracy theories. I have appeared on Newsnight (BBC2), The World Tonight (BBC Radio 4) and Free Thinking (BBC Radio 3). I am also on Twitter (@QCassam).

My CV and publications, including open access versions of some published papers, are available here. In the 2018/19 academic year I am teaching an honours module on the Philosophy of Terrorism and Counterterrorism and a first year module on Knowledge, Ignorance and Bullshit. I am also Director of Research for the Department of Philosophy and a member of the department's Management Committee.



Professor of Philosophy

On leave in term 1