Lisa Bortolotti


Lisa Bortolotti

TEDxBrum Speakers Lisa Bortolotti writing.jpg

Lisa Bortolotti was born in Italy and studied philosophy in Bologna, London, Oxford, and Canberra before starting her academic career as Honorary Lecturer in Bioethics in the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy at the University of Manchester and Research Associate on the EC-funded EU-RECA (on the concept of research and the ethical regulation of research activities). Lisa is now Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham specialising in philosophy of psychology and psychiatry.

She is particularly interested in the strengths and limitations of the human mind, and has written extensively about delusions, inconsistent beliefs, memory distortions, confabulation, and failures of self-knowledge; including Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Polity Press, 2008), Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs (OUP, 2009), and her latest book, Irrationality (Polity, 2014). Her current 5-year research project on Pragmatic and Epistemic Role of Factually Erroneous Cognitions and Thoughts (PERFECT), is funded by the European Research Council and aims to establish whether irrational beliefs can make an unexpectedly positive contribution to our well being, success, or knowledge.

Further Reading


"I am a philosopher of the cognitive sciences, focusing on the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry. I am also interested in biomedical ethics.

I have a Laurea in Filosofia (summa cum laude) from the University of Bologna (1997), an MA in Philosophy (with Distinction) from the University of London (1998), a BPhil from Oxford (2000) and a PhD in Philosophy from the Australian National University in Canberra (2004).

In 2011 I was awarded the American Philosophical Association Book Prize for the monograph.I am currently working on another monograph provisionally entitled The Epistemic Innocence of Imperfect Cognitions, on an introduction to the philosophy and psychology of health and happiness with Michael Larkin, on an introduction to the philosophy of psychology with Kengo Miyazono, and on a book on delusions featuring Richard Bentall, Phil Corlett, and Rachel Upthegrove.

I edited two volumes, Philosophy and Happiness (Palgrave, 2009) and, with Matthew Broome, Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives (OUP, 2009). The latter was listed among the Guardian Books of the Year in 2009.