Tony Booth

Tony Booth

Department of Philosophy

University of Sussex


I am currently Professor of Ethics & Epistemology at the University of Sussex, UK . Previously, I've worked at the University of Durham , Queen's University Belfast , Utrecht University , and the UNAM in Mexico City. I got my Ph.D. in 2006 at the University of Durham (supervisor: Prof. R.F.Hendry ; examiners: Prof. Jonathan Lowe & Prof. Chris Hookway ).

From November 2013 to 2017, I was a researcher working (0.75 fte) on a project in applied epistemology and ethics, the Trusting Banks project. The project is a 5 year, 1.3 m euro collaboration between Groningen and Cambridge Universities, funded by NWO (Dutch Science Organisation), and led by Prof. Boudewijn de Bruin and Prof. Alex Oliver.

I am a founding member of the Southern Normativity Group (SoNG).

From August 2017 - February 2021 I was Head of Department of Philosophy at Sussex. I am also currently on the Steering Committee of the Middle East and North Africa Centre at Sussex.

My current research interests are (roughly) the following:

The Ethics of Belief: How, if at all, are beliefs subject to normative appraisal? Should the ethics of belief give us prescriptive guidance as to what we should believe/how we should conduct our lives qua believers? Is the ethics of belief a subset of Ethics? Of Epistemology? Is Clifford’s Evidentialism (as opposed to James’ Pragmatism) true?

Epistemology: Fallibilism; Epistemic Permissibility; The Gettier Problem-problem; Epistemic Justification; Externalism vs. Internalism; Epistemic Normativity; the Basing Relation; Epistemic Conservatism; the Nature of Curiosity, Understanding; Knowledge-wh; Epistemic Luck; Epistemic Value.

Philosophy of Mind: The Nature of Belief, “Alief”, Suspended Judgement, wh-attitudes, Intention, Self-Deception; Doxastic Voluntarism; Degrees of Belief; Doxastic Compatibilism; the Phenomenology of Belief; Proprioception; Intuitions; Trust; Wittgenstein.

Ethics/Political Philosophy: Normativity, Reasons, Rationality; Parfit’s State-Given/Object-Given Reasons distinction; the All-Things-Considered/Pro Tanto Reasons, Oughts, and Duties distinction; “’Ought’ Implies ‘Can’”; Blameworthiness, Blame, Responsibility, Obligation (and the relation between them); Rights; Permissibility; the Error-Theory; Public Reason; Political Normativity; Political Epistemology; Islamic conceptions of political legitimacy.

Applied Philosophy: Freedom of Speech & Expression; Financial Ethics; Informed Consent.

I also have an interest in Islamic Philosophy, having spent a lot of 1990 - 1995 in Syria.

An interview with me about some of my research is available here.



(2018) Analytic Islamic Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan, Philosophy Today Series (London & New York)).

(2016) Islamic Philosophy & The Ethics of Belief (London: Palgrave Macmillan). Click here for a symposium on this book.

(2014) Intuitions (edited with Darrell Rowbottom) (Oxford: Oxford University Press).


(forthcoming): "Are We Pre-Theoretically Committed to Doxastic Voluntarism?" (with Nikolaj Nottelmann & Rune Lomholt) Review of Philosophy & Psychology

(forthcoming) "Ought to Believe, Simpliciter" Episteme

(2022) "The Type-B Moral Error Theory" Erkenntnis 87 pp. 2181 - 2199.

(2021) "Rawlsian Pluralism & Political Islam: Friends or Foes?" in Hashas, M. (ed.) Pluralism in Islamic Contexts - Ethics, Politics, and Modern Challenges (Basel: Springer).

(2021) "Stakes Sensitivity & Credit Rating: A New Challenge for Regulators" (with Boudewijn de Bruin) Journal of Business Ethics 169 pp. 169 - 179

(2021) "Ought to Believe vs. Ought to Reflect" in McCain & Stapleford (eds.) Epistemic Duties: New Arguments, New Angles (New York: Routledge).

(2018) "Advice for Infallibilists: DIVORCE & RETREAT!" Synthese 195 (9) pp. 3773 - 3789.

(2018) "Trust in the Guise of Belief" International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26(2) pp. 156 - 172 - 2nd Place Prize in Annual Robert Papazian Competition.

(2018) "The Real Symbolic Limit of Markets" Analysis 78(2) pp. 198 - 207.

(2017) "Belief is Contingently Involuntary" Ratio 30(2) pp. 107 - 121.

(2014) "Epistemic Ought is a Commensurable Ought " European Journal of Philosophy 22 (4) pp. 529 - 539.

(2014) "Two Reasons Why Epistemic Reasons Are Not Object-Given Reasons " Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1) pp. 1 - 14.

(2014) "The Gettier Illusion, the Tripartite Analysis, and the Divorce Thesis" Erkenntnis 79 (3) pp. 625 - 638.

(2014) "On Some Recent Moves in Defence of Doxastic Compatibilism" Synthese 191 (8) pp. 1867 - 1880.

(2014) "Why Responsible Belief is Permissible Belief" (with Rik Peels) Analytic Philosophy 55 (1) pp. 75 - 88.

(2012) "Epistemic Justification, Rights, and Permissibility" (with Rik Peels ) Logos & Episteme 3 405 - 411.

(2012) "All Things Considered Duties to Believe " Synthese 187(2) pp. 509 - 517.

(2011) "The Theory of Epistemic Justification and the Theory of Knowledge: A Divorce " Erkenntnis 75(1) pp. 37 - 43.

(2010) "Why Responsible Belief is Blameless Belief " (with Rik Peels ) The Journal of Philosophy 107 (5) pp. 257 - 265.

(2009) "Compatibilism and Free Belief " Philosophical Papers Vol. 38 No. 1 pp. 1 - 12.

(2009) "Motivating Epistemic Reasons for Action " Grazer Philosophische Studien Vol. 78 pp. 265 - 271.

(2008) "Deontology in Ethics and Epistemology " Metaphilosophy Vol. 39 No. 4-5 pp. 530 - 545.

(2008) "A New Argument for Pragmatism?" Philosophia Vol. 36 No. 2 pp. 227 - 231.

(2007) "The Two Faces of Evidentialism" Erkenntnis Vol. 67 No. 3 pp. 401 - 417.

(2007) "Doxastic Voluntarism and Self-Deception " Disputatio Vol. 2 No. 22 pp. 117 - 132.

(2006) "Can There Be Epistemic Reasons for Action ?" Grazer Philosophische Studien Vol. 73 pp. 133 - 144.


(forthcoming): "Epistemology in the Islamic World" in Blackwell Companion to Epistemology Sylvan (ed.)

(2021): "Epistemology & Politics in Islamic Philosophy" in Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology De Ridder & Hannon (eds).

(2018): "Some objections to Peels' Combinatorial Analysis of Belief" for a symposium on Rik Peels' book Responsible Belief in International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26(4) pp. 605 - 611.

(2018): "Replies to Ahmed, Casey, Galston, Mills" for a symposium on my Islamic Philosophy and the Ethics of Belief at Syndicate Philosophy.

(2017): Review of Stephen Hetherington Knowledge and the Gettier Problem for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

(2016): "What is extremist belief? An answer from Medieval Islamic Philosophy" The Conversation.


"Islamic Philosophy, Politics, and Post-Colonial Discourse", Humanities Research Seminar, University of Brighton, November 2021.

"A New Look at al-Fārābi on Philosophy versus Theology", Beyond Foundationalism: New Perspectives on Analytic Islamic Theology, Cambridge Muslim College, May 2021.

"Avicenna on intentionality, estimation, and the question of indirect voluntary control", Perspectives on Belief and the Will: A comparative workshop on the history of doxastic voluntarism, Ecole pratique des hautes études, Paris, September 2019.

"Al-Farabi on Absolute Certainty" Global Philosophy Conference, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, April 2019.

"Rawlsian Liberalism and Political Islam: Friends or Foes?": Sources of Pluralism in Islamic Thought (organised by RESET: Dialogues on Civilisations) Casablanca, Morocco, July 2018.

"The Primacy of Doxastic Ought Simpliciter": Epistemic Normativity Workshop, University of Luxembourg, March 2018.

"Belief, Will, Ideology": Philosophy Research Seminar, Essex University, February 2018 & Philosophy Society, Sussex University, February 2018.

"The Illusion of Doxastic Zero-Control": Responsibility for Attitudes Workshop, University of Southampton, June 2017.

"Trust Doxasticism": Philosophy Research Seminar, University of Southampton, May 2017.

"How Epistemic Akrasia Works": Trust & Belief Workshop, Newnham College, Cambridge, April 2016.

"Prophecy and Certainty" Philosophy Society, University of Sussex, October 2015.

"The Real Symbolic Limits of the Market" 3rd Trusting Banks Workshop, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, June 2015.

"Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Belief, and Extremist Belief": Research Seminar (Research Group on Knowledge and Values), & "Introduction to Islamic Philosophy" Public Lecture, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, April 2015.

"Trusting and Intending": Research Seminar, University of Durham, February 2015.

"The Limits of Toleration": Panel discussion with Paul Davies, Katerina Deligiorgi, Simon McGregor and Rabbi Effune, University of Sussex, Meeting House (a Chaplaincy organised event), February 2015.

"Trusting and Intending": 2nd Trusting Banks Workshop, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, January 2015.

"Interest-Relative Risk and Credit Rating": Society for Applied Philosophy Annual Conference, St. Anne's College, Oxford (June 2014) & 1st Trusting Banks Workshop, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (November 2014).

"Al-Farabi on Certainty": Philosophy Society of England (Sussex Branch), Lewes, February 2014.

"Why is Belief Involuntary?": LEM seminar, Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, London, December 2013.

"Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Belief": Sussex Research Seminars in Social and Political Theory, Brighton, October 2013.

"An Error-Theory We Can Believe": Cardiff Normativity Workshop, Cardiff, June 2013.

"The Ethics of Belief": Philosophy Society, University of Southampton, February, 2013.

"On Suspended Judgement": Philosophy Society, University of Sussex, November 2012.

"What do we aim at when we suspend judgement?" Inferentialism in the Philosophy of Language, Mind & Action , UNED, Madrid, October 2012.

"All Things Considered Duties to Believe" 2nd Dutch Annual Conference in Ethics and Ethical Theory, Groningen, The Netherlands, October 2010.

"Against Justification Infallibilism" Justification Revisited Conference, University of Geneva (accepted).

"Ethical Inconsistency" Practical Philosophy Seminar, Utrecht University, December 2009.

"Reply to van Woudenberg" Responsible Belief in the Face of Disagreement, VU Amsterdam, August 2009.

"The Value of Justification" 2nd Workshop in Analytic Philosophy, VU Amsterdam, June 2009 & Departmental Colloquium, Eindhoven University, May 2009.

"The Value of Justification" Conference on Ernest Sosa, University of Zaragoza, Spain May 2009.

"The Sources of Epistemic Normativity" Graduate Conference on Normativity , University of Amsterdam, August 2008 & The Place of Epistemic Agents: Autonomy and Dependence in Epistemology , Carlos III University Madrid and Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, October 2008.

"Doxastic Deontologism Defended" (with a reply by Miguel Angel Fernández) Seminario de Investigadores, Instituto de Investigaciones Filosoficás, UNAM, México, October 2007.

Reply to DiNucci: "Automaticity and Davidsonian Rationalization" Postgraduate Conference on Action and Perception, University of Durham, August 2006.

Reply to Pellegrino: "Ethical Properties and Resultant Qualities: or, the Naturalism of W.D. Ross" Postgraduate Conference on Ethical Naturalism, St John's College, University of Durham, August 2006.

"Epistemic Reasons and Moral Realism" Joint Session of the Mind Association and Aristotelian Society (open session), University of Southampton, July 2006.

"Doxastic Voluntarism and Self-Deception" Philosophy Society, Queen's University Belfast, May 2006.

"Can there be Epistemic Reasons for Action?" Departmental Research Seminar, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham, February 2006.

"How to Defend the Unity of Justification" Unity of Reason Conference, University of St. Andrews, June 2005.

"Doxastic Voluntarism and Self Deception" Universities of Ireland Postgraduate Conference, Trinity College Dublin, April 2005.

"The Price of Having a Deontic Conception" Graduate Conference on Skepticism, Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 2003.

"Arbitrariness, Reliabilism, and the Fate of Justification in Epistemology" SPPA Spring Conference, University of Edinburgh, April 2002.


I usually accept requests to referee papers, manuscripts and research funding proposals. I have acted as a referee/reader for:



American Philosophical Quarterly


Australasian Journal of Philosophy


Danish Council for Independent Research






Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion

European Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Journal of Applied Philosophy

Journal of Consciousness Studies

Journal of Philosophical Research

Journal of Philosophy

Journal of Value Inquiry

Oxford University Press

Palgrave Macmillan

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly


Philosophical Explorations

Philosophical Papers

Philosophical Psychology

Philosophical Quarterly

Philosophical Studies

Philosophy, Politics, & Economics

Public Affairs Quarterly

Logos & Episteme


Mind & Language



Social Theory and Practice

Southern Journal of Philosophy



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