Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett PhD (York)

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Department of Philosophy
Lecturer in Philosophy

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a Lecturer in Philosophy. I work primarily on issues in philosophy of mind and psychology, specifically belief and its connection to truth, and delusional belief. I am also interested in biological approaches to what are characteristically thought to be normative questions in philosophy of mind and epistemology. Please visit my personal webpage for more information. 


  • B.A. in Philosophy (York, 2009)
  • M.A. in Philosophy (York, 2010)
  • PhD in Philosophy (York, 2014)


My main research areas are the philosophy of mind and psychology, mostly focusing on the nature of belief and delusion. With respect to the first, my view is that we can explain features of belief which link it to truth without appeal to there being aims or norms of belief which do the explaining, we can, instead, appeal to the biological functions of our mechanisms of belief-production. With respect to the second, I am working on a one-factor account of monothematic delusional belief formation (and the wider implications thereof), according to which the reasoning of subjects with these beliefs is within the normal range of human psychology.



  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema, Bradley, Helen, and Noordhof, Paul (eds.) Art and Belief. Under contract with Oxford University Press.

Journal articles


  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema, Bortolotti, Lisa, Broome, Matthew and Mameli, Matteo 2016‘Moral and Legal Implications of the Continuity between Delusional and Non-delusional Beliefs’. In Keil, Geert (ed.) Vagueness in PsychiatryOxford University Press. 
  • Bortolotti, Lisa, Gunn, Rachel, and Sullivan-Bissett, Ema 2016: ‘What Makes a Belief Delusional?’ In Mac Carthy, Ita, Sellevold, Kirsti, and Smith, Olivia (eds.) Cognitive ConfusionsLegenda, pp. 37–51. 
  • Bortolotti, Lisa, Antrobus, Magdalena, and Sullivan-Bissett, Ema forthcoming: ‘Are Self-enhancing Beliefs Epistemically Innocent?’ In Balcerak Jackson, Brendan and Balcerak Jackson, Magdalena (eds.) Reasoning. Oxford University Press. 
  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema and Bortolotti, Lisa forthcoming. 'Fictional Persuasion, Transparency, and the Aim of Belief'. In Sullivan-Bissett, Ema, Bradley, Helen, and Noordhof, Paul (eds.) Art and Belief. Oxford University Press

Book reviews and commentaries

  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema forthcoming: 'Transparency Defended'. Symposium on Miriam McCormick's Believing Against the Evidence: Agency and the Ethics of Belief. Syndicate Philosophy. 
  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema forthcoming: ‘The Role of Emotions and Values in Competence’. Journal of Medical Ethics. DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2014-102575
  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema 2015: 'Review of The Aim of Belief by Timothy Chan (ed.)'. Mind. Vol. 124, no. 496, pp. 1258–64.  
  • Bortolotti, Lisa and Sullivan-Bissett, Ema 2014: ‘Review of New Essays on Belief: Constitution, Content and Structure by Nikolaj Nottelmann’. Dialectica. Vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 141–6. 
  • Sullivan-Bissett, Ema 2012: ‘Changing Approaches to Blindsight: Relevant, but not Decisive: Reply to Foley’. Philosophical Writings; Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual British Postgraduate Philosophy Conference. pp. 56–60.