Extremism is one of the most charged and controversial issues of the twenty-first century. Despite myriad programs of deradicalization and prevention around the world, it remains an intractable and poorly understood problem. Yet it is also sometimes regarded as a positive force – according to Martin Luther King Jr., 'the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be'.

In this much-needed and lucid book, Quassim Cassam identifies three types of extremism – ideological; methods; and psychological extremism – and discusses the following fundamental topics and issues: What is extremism? What are the methods adopted by extremists? Is there an extremist ‘mindset’ and if so, what is it? What role do ideas of purity, victimhood and humiliation play in understanding extremism? How does extremism differ from fanaticism and fundamentalism? How does one become an extremist and how should we understand deradicalization?

Throughout the book, Quassim Cassam uses many compelling examples, ranging from the Khmer Rouge, the IRA, Al-Qaeda and Timothy McVeigh to Philip Roth’s novel American Pastoral and counter-extremism programmes, including the UK’s Prevent strategy.

Clear-headed and engaging, Extremism: A Philosophical Analysis is essential reading for anyone interested in this important topic, not only in Philosophy but related disciplines such as Politics and International Relations, Conflict and Terrorism Studies, Law, Education and Religion. It will also be of great interest to policy-makers and those engaged in understanding extremism at any level.

chapter |10 pages


chapter 1|28 pages

How to think about extremism

chapter 2|22 pages

Ideological extremism

chapter 3|22 pages

Methods extremism

chapter 4|32 pages

The psychology of extremism

chapter 5|29 pages

Extremism, fanaticism, fundamentalism

chapter 6|21 pages

Why not extremism?

chapter 7|25 pages

Pathways to extremism

chapter 8|25 pages

Countering extremism

chapter |9 pages


The new extremism