Stanley Cavell received his A.B. in music from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D., in philosophy, from Harvard. From 1953 to 1956, he was a Junior Fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows. After teaching at Berkeley for six years, he returned to Harvard in 1963, where he was named the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, a position he held until 1997, when he became Professor Emeritus.
His major interests center on the intersection of the analytical tradition (especially the work of Austin and Wittgenstein) with moments of the Continental tradition (for example, Heidegger and Nietzsche); with American philosophy (especially Emerson and Thoreau); with the arts (for example, Shakespeare, film and opera); and with psychoanalysis.
He has published eighteen books, including Must We Mean What We Say? (1969); The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film (1971); The Senses of Walden (1972); The Claim of Reason (1979); Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage (1981); Disowning Knowledge: In Six Plays of Shakespeare (1987); Philosophical Passages: Wittgenstein, Emerson, Austin, Derrida (1995); Cities of Words (2004); and his memoir, Little Did I Know, appeared in the fall of 2010. A complete bibliography of Cavell’s writings may be found here.
Professor Cavell is a Past President of the American Philosophical Association and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992. Among his other honors are a fellowship at Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities in 1970-71; the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Criticism, from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; the Centennial Medal from Harvard’s Graduate School; the Romanell Phi Beta Kappa Professorship; and a number of honorary degrees.