Akeel Bilgrami

Akeel Bilgrami

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Category: Philosophy

Akeel Bilgrami Profile

  • Name:
  • Akeel Bilgrami
  • Education:
  •  University of Oxford, University of Chicago, University of Mumbai

Akeel Bilgrami Biography

Akeel Bilgrami is an Indian-origin philosopher of language and of mind, and the author of Belief and Meaning, Self-Knowledge and Resentment, and Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity, as well as various articles in Philosophy of Mind as well as in Political and Moral Psychology. Some of his articles in these latter subjects speak to issues of current politics in their relation to broader social and cultural issues. He has also increasingly joined debates in the pages of larger-circulation periodicals such as The New York Review of Books. Bilgrami is currently the Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University in New York.


Akeel Bilgrami graduated from Elphinstone College, University of Bombay, in 1970 and went to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Thereafter, he moved to the United States and earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1983. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, leaving with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Chicago with a dissertation titled "Belief and Meaning", focusing on Michael Dummett's critique of realist accounts of meaning and on the indeterminacy of translation, in which he argues in support of Donald Davidson's thesis that meaning is a form of invariance between underdetermined theories of meaning. He has been in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University since 1985 after spending two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Bilgrami is a secularist and an atheist who advocates an understanding of the community-oriented dimension of religion. For Bilgrami spiritual yearnings are not only understandable but also supremely human. He has argued in many essays that in our modern world, "religion is not primarily a matter of belief and doctrine but about the sense of community and shared values it provides in contexts where other forms of solidarity—such as a strong labor movement—are missing.

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Updated: June 12, 2018

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