Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett PhD (York)

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Department of Philosophy
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy working primarily in the philosophy of mind and psychology.


  • BA in Philosophy (York, 2009)
  • MA in Philosophy (York, 2010)
  • PhD in Philosophy (York, 2014)


At Birmingham I have taught the undergraduate modules Logic Through Language, Key Readings, Topics in the Philosophy of Religion, and Fantastic Beasts and How to Understand Them. I have also taught the postgraduate module Epistemology.

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising PhD students in the areas of delusion formation and implicit bias. I welcome enquires from potential PhD students interested in research in philosophy of mind and psychology, epistemology, and philosophy of biology.

Find out more - our PhD Philosophy  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


I work primarily on issues in philosophy of mind and psychology, specifically belief and its connection to truth, monothematic delusion, and implicit bias. I am also interested in biological approaches to what are characteristically thought to be normative questions in philosophy of mind and epistemology.


Recent publications


Sullivan-Bissett, E 2020, 'Unimpaired abduction to alien abduction: lessons on delusion formation', Philosophical Psychology, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 679-704. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2020.1765324

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2019, 'Biased by our imaginings', Mind & Language, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 627-647. https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12225

Bortolotti, L & Sullivan-Bissett, E 2019, 'Is choice blindness a case of self-ignorance?', Synthese. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02414-3

Sullivan-Bissett, E & Noordhof, P 2019, 'The Transparent Failure of Norms to Keep Up Standards of Belief', Philosophical Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-019-01242-y

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2018, 'Explaining doxastic transparency: aim, norm, or function?', Synthese, vol. 195, no. 8, pp. 3453–3476. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-017-1377-0

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2018, 'Monothematic Delusion: A Case of Innocence from Experience', Philosophical Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2018.1468024

Bortolotti, L & Sullivan-Bissett, E 2018, 'The epistemic innocence of clinical memory distortions', Mind & Language, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 263-279. https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12175

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2017, 'Aims and Exclusivity', European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 721–731. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejop.12183

Stoneham, T & Sullivan-Bissett, E 2017, 'Another Failed Refutation of Scepticism', Teorema.

Sullivan-Bissett, E & Noordhof, P 2017, 'Another defence of Owens's exclusivity objection to beliefs having aims', Logos & Episteme, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 147-153. https://doi.org/10.5840/logos-episteme20178110

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2017, 'Biological Function and Epistemic Normativity', Philosophical Explorations, vol. 20, no. Sup 1, pp. 94-110. https://doi.org/10.1080/13869795.2017.1287296

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Sullivan-Bissett, E 2020, We are like American robins. in K McCain & S Stapleford (eds), Epistemic duties: new arguments, new angles. 1st edn, Routledge Studies in Epistemology, Routledge, New York, pp. 94-110. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429030215-8

Bortolotti, L, Antrobus, M & Sullivan-Bissett, E 2019, The epistemic innocence of optimistically biased beliefs. in M Barcerak Jackson & B Balcerak Jackson (eds), Reasoning: essays on theoretical and practical thinking. Oxford University Press. <https://global.oup.com/academic/product/reasoning-9780198791478?q=Reasoning%20essays%20on%20theoretical%20and%20practical%20thinking&lang=en&cc=gb#>

Sullivan-Bissett, E & Bortolotti, L 2017, Fictional Persuasion, Transparency, and the Aim of Belief. in E Sullivan-Bissett, H Bradley & P Noordhof (eds), Art and Belief. Oxford University Press.


Sullivan-Bissett, E, Bradley, H & Noordhof, P (eds) 2017, Art and Belief. Oxford University Press.

View all publications in research portal


  • Nature of belief and connection to the truth
  • Delusions
  • Implicit bias

Other information