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Arif Ahmed (philosopher)

Arif Ahmed in 2013

Arif Mohuiddin Ahmed MBE is the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom of the Office for Students, following his appointment in June 2023.[1] Prior to this, Ahmed was a philosopher at the University of Cambridge, where he became a fellow of Gonville and Caius College in 2015,[2] university reader in philosophy in 2016,[3] and Nicholas Sallnow-Smith College Lecturer in 2019.[4] His research interests include decision theory and the philosophy of religion, from an atheist and libertarian point of view.[2] Ahmed studied mathematics at St Anne's College, University of Oxford and philosophy at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge.[5]

At Cambridge he has been an advocate for the protection of freedom of speech, in reaction to the university administration's cancellation of an invitation to the politically conservative academic Jordan Peterson.[6][7][8] In 2020, Ahmed also led opposition to the University's proposed amendments to its freedom of speech policy, ultimately concluding with the rejection of the amendments.[9][10]

Ahmed was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to education.[11] In late 2022, the Minister for Women and Equalities, and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch MP appointed Ahmed as new Commissioner to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Board.[12] He left the EHRC after being appointed Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom at the Office for Students (OfS) in June 2023.[1][13]


Ahmed is the author of the books Saul Kripke (Continuum Books, 2007), which analyses the philosophy of Saul Kripke,[14] and Evidence, Decision and Causality (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which defends evidential decision theory and critiques causal decision theory.[15] Ahmed is also the editor of both Wittgenstein's Philosophical investigations: A critical guide (Cambridge University Press, 2010)[16] and Newcomb's Problem (Cambridge University Press, 2018).[17]


  1. ^ a b "Office for Students announces its first Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom". Office for Students. 1 June 2023. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Arif Ahmed". Gonville and Caius College. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Arif Ahmed". Cambridge Faculty of Philosophy. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Investing in teaching". Once a Caian. No. 19. 2019.
  5. ^ "Professor Arif Ahmed". Gonville & Caius. Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  6. ^ Quinn, Ben (10 December 2020). "Cambridge University urged to re-invite rightwing academic Jordan Peterson". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Whitworth, Damian (5 December 2020). "The Cambridge professor fighting 'academic McCarthyism': Freedom of speech is fragile, Arif Ahmed tells Damian Whitworth". The Times.
  8. ^ Turner, Camilla (9 December 2020). "Cambridge University dons win free speech row, defeat new 'authoritarian' rules".
  9. ^ Quinn, Ben (9 December 2020). "Cambridge University rejects proposal it be 'respectful' of all views". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Cambridge University votes to safeguard free speech". BBC News. 9 December 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  11. ^ "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B15.
  12. ^ "New EHRC commissioners appointed". 4 December 2022.
  13. ^ Freeman, Rob (1 June 2023). "University freedom of speech champion says 'democracy at stake'". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
  14. ^ Reviews of Saul Kripke: Anton Petrenko, Phil. in Rev., [1], [2]
  15. ^ Reviews of Evidence, Decision and Causality: James M. Joyce, J. Phil., doi:10.5840/jphil2016113413; H. Orri Stefánsson, Phil. of Sci., doi:10.1086/684183; Paul Weirich, Notre Dame Phil. Rev., [3]
  16. ^ Reviews of Wittgenstein's Philosophical investigations: David Macey, Phil. Rev., [4]; George Lazaroiu, Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, [5].
  17. ^ Reviews of Newcomb's Problem: J. Dmitri Gallow, Economics & Philosophy, doi:10.1017/S0266267119000178; Jack Spencer, Notre Dame Phil. Rev., [6]
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Arif Ahmed (philosopher)
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