1st Edition

The Philosophy of Fanaticism Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    The essays in this volume explore some of the disconcerting realities of fanaticism, by analyzing its unique dynamics, and considering how it can be productively confronted. The book features both analytic and continental philosophical approaches to fanaticism.

    Working at the intersections of epistemology, philosophy of emotions, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion, the contributors address a range of questions related to this increasingly relevant, yet widely neglected topic. What are the distinctive features of fanaticism? What are its causes, motivations, and reasons? In what ways, if at all, is fanaticism epistemically, ethically, and politically problematic? And how can fanaticism be combatted or curtailed?

    The Philosophy of Fanaticism will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of emotions, moral psychology, and political philosophy.

    Chapter 1. Introduction to the Philosophy of Fanaticism

    Ruth Rebecca Tietjen and Leo Townsend

    Part I. The Epistemic Dimension

    Chapter 2. Fanaticism: For and Against

    Quassim Cassam

    Chapter 3. Can Changing Our Minds Make Us Fanatic? Belief Revision and Epistemic Overconfidence

    Aljoša Kravanja

    Chapter 4. Fanaticism, Dogmatism, and Collective Belief

    Leo Townsend

    Chapter 5. The Epistemology of Fanaticism: Echo Chambers and Fanaticism

    Hana Samaržija

    Chapter 6. Hermeneutical Justice for Extremists?

    Trystan S. Goetze and Charlie Crerar

    Part II. The Affective Dimension

    Chapter 7. On the Social Constitution of Fanatical Feelings

    Ruth Rebecca Tietjen

    Chapter 8. Affective Dynamics in Fanaticism: Positive Emotions, Indignation, Contempt, and Hatred

    Hilge Landweer

    Chapter 9. Group Fanaticism and Narratives of Ressentiment

    Paul Katsafanas

    Chapter 10. Sacralizing Hostility: Fanaticism as a Group-Based Affective Mechanism

    Thomas Szanto

    Chapter 11. Second-order Reactive Attitudes toward Fanaticism

    Anne Reichold

    Part III. The Political Dimension

    Chapter 12. The fanatical view of Self and Others in martyrdom and Jihad: The European Jihadi Agent as a Modern Scapegoat

    Farhad Khosrokhavar

    Chapter 13. Purges, Big and Small: On Violence, Faith, and Fanaticism

    Hans Bernhard Schmid

    Chapter 14. The Pacification of Fanaticism? Jaspers, Unconditional Action, and Nihilism

    Jason W. Alvis

    Chapter 15. Fanaticism and Liberalism

    Frank Chouraqui

    Chapter 16. The Fanatical Underpinning of Managerial Subjectivity: a Psycho-theological Journey into some Archives

    Paul Slama


    Leo Townsend is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna and the principal investigator of a project on group speech and group silencing, funded by the Austrian Science Fund. He works on social epistemology, collective intentionality and speech theory.

    Ruth Rebecca Tietjen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen and works on a project on antagonistic political emotions, funded by the Austrian Science Fund. She is working on political and existential phenomena such as religious zeal, fanaticism, populism, loneliness, and melancholia.

    Hans Bernhard Schmid is a professor of Political and Social Philosophy at the University of Vienna. His most recent book is Evil in Joint Action: The Ethics of Hate and the Sociology of Original Sin (Routledge, 2020).

    Michael Staudigl works as a senior lecturer and researcher at the philosophy department, University of Vienna, and scientific associate at the Research centre for religion and transformation (RaT). Between 2003 and 2010 he was visiting fellow at IWM, Vienna. Among his most important publications is Phänomenologie der Gewalt (2015).