Books

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Vice Epistemology

2020 published by Routledge

Some of the most problematic human behaviors involve vices of the mind such as arrogance, closed-mindedness, dogmatism, gullibility, and intellectual cowardice, as well as wishful or conspiratorial thinking. What sorts of things are epistemic vices? How do we detect and mitigate them? How and why do these vices prevent us from acquiring knowledge, and what is their role in sustaining patterns of ignorance? What is their relation to implicit or unconscious bias? How do epistemic vices and systems of social oppression relate to one another? Do we unwittingly absorb such traits from the process of socialization and communities around us? Are epistemic vices traits for which we can blamed? Can there be institutional and collective epistemic vices? read more.....

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Conspiracy Theories 

2019 published by Polity 

9/11 was an inside job. The Holocaust is a myth promoted to serve Jewish interests. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were a false flag operation. Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. These are all conspiracy theories. A glance online or at bestseller lists reveals how popular some of them are. Even if there is plenty of evidence to disprove them, people persist in propagating them. Why? Philosopher Quassim Cassam explains how conspiracy theories are different from ordinary theories about conspiracies. He argues that conspiracy theories are forms of propaganda and their function is to promote a political agenda. Although conspiracy theories are sometimes defended on the grounds that they uncover evidence of bad behaviour by  read more.....

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Vices of the Mind 

2019 published by Oxford University Press 

Epistemic vices are character traits, attitudes or thinking styles that prevent us from gaining, keeping or sharing knowledge. In this book, Quassim Cassam gives an account of the nature and importance of these vices, which include closed-mindedness, intellectual arrogance, wishful thinking, and prejudice. In providing the first extensive coverage of vice epistemology, an exciting new area of philosophical research, Vices of the Mind uses real examples drawn primarily from the world of politics to develop a compelling theory of epistemic vice. Cassam defends the view that as well as getting in the way of knowledge these vices are blameworthy or reprehensible. Key events such as the 2003 Iraq War and the 2016 Brexit vote, and notable figures including  read more.....

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Berkeley's Puzzle 

2014 published by Oxford University Press 

Sensory experience seems to be the basis of our knowledge and conception of mind-independent things. The puzzle is to understand how that can be: even if the things we experience (apples, tables, trees, etc), are mind-independent how does our sensory experience of them enable us to conceive of them as mind-independent? George Berkeley thought that sensory experience can only provide us with the conception of mind-dependent things, things which cannot exist when they aren't being perceived.


It's easy to dismiss Berkeley's conclusion but harder to see how to read more.....

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Self-Knowledge for Humans 

2014 published by Oxford University Press

Human beings are not model epistemic citizens. Our reasoning can be careless and uncritical, and our beliefs, desires, and other attitudes aren't always as they ought rationally to be. Our beliefs can be eccentric, our desires irrational and our hopes hopelessly unrealistic. Our attitudes are influenced by a wide range of non-epistemic or non-rational factors, including our character, our emotions, and powerful unconscious biases. Yet we are rarely conscious of such influences. Self-ignorance is not something to which human beings are immune.

In this book Quassim Cassam develops an account of self-knowledge which tries to do justice to these and other respects in which humans aren't model epistemic citizens. He rejects rationalist and read more.....

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The Possibility of Knowledge 

2007 published by Oxford University Press 

How is knowledge of the external world possible? How is knowledge of other minds possible? How is a priori knowledge possible? These are all examples of how-possible questions in epistemology.

 

Quassim Cassam explains how such questions arise and how they should be answered. In general, we ask how knowledge, or knowledge of some specific kind, is possible when we encounter obstacles to its existence or acquisition. So the question is: how is knowledge possible given the various factors that make it look impossible? A satisfactory answer to such a question will therefore need to do several read more.....

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Self and World 

1997 published by Oxford University Press 

Self and World is an exploration of the nature of self-awareness. Quassim Cassam challenges the widespread and influential view that we cannot be introspectively aware of ourselves as objects in the world. In opposition to the views of many empiricist and idealist philosophers, including Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein, he argues that the self is not systematically elusive from the perspective of self-consciousness, and that consciousness of our thoughts and experiences requires a sense of our thinking, experiencing selves as shaped, located, and solid physical objects in a world of such objects. Awareness of oneself as a physical object involves forms of bodily self-awareness whose importance has seldom been properly acknowledged in philosophical read more.....

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Self-Knowledge 

1994 published by Oxford University Press 

Edited by Quassim Cassam, this volume brings together some of the most important and influential recent writings on knowledge of oneself and of one's own thoughts, sensations, and experiences. The essays give valuable insights into such fundamental philosophical issues as personal identity, the nature of consciousness, the relation between mind and body, and knowledge of other minds. read more.....

©2020 Professor Quassim Cassam

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