Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy
Director, South Asia Institute
Member, The Committee on Global Thought
Akeel Bilgrami is Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy. He is a founding member of the Committee on Global Thought. Akeel Bilgrami got a first degree in English Literature from Bombay University but defected to philosophy because he found the former too hard. He went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and there got another Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1974). He has a PhD from the University of Chicago (1983), after writing a dissertation, “Meaning as Invariance,” on the subject of the indeterminacy of translation and issues concerning realism and linguistic meaning. He joined the Philosophy Department in 1985 after spending two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
His book of selected essays on the moral psychology of politics entitled Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment was published by Harvard University Press in March 2014. He is also contracted to publish two small books in the very near future, one called What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press) and another on Gandhi’s philosophy, situating Gandhi’s thought in seventeenth century dissent in England and Europe and more broadly within the Radical Enlightenment and the radical strand in the Romantic tradition (Columbia University Press).
He teaches courses and seminars regularly in the department on Philosophy of Mind and Language and also in the Committee on Global Thought and Political Science on issues in Politics and Rationality as well as Religion and Politics in a Global Context.
Professor Bilgrami was the Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1994-98 and the Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University from 2004-2011.
- Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Harvard University Press, 2014)
- Occidentalism, the Very Idea: An Essay on Enlightenment and Enchantment (University of Chicago, 2006)
- PhD, Philosophy, University of Chicago
- BA, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Oxford University
- BA, English Literature, Bombay University