Research Interests: Practical normativity, especially (at present) instrumental reasons, and the metaphysical grounding of practical reasons; moral epistemology; well-being and relational value.
Jeff joins Harvard University after spending three years as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Illinois State University. Prior to that, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A Cincinnati native, Jeff is a committed Reds fan, and all-around baseball enthusiast. When not working on philosophy or contemplating the beauty of baseball statistics, he'll often be found playing board games or practicing kung fu.
Research Interests: Ethics, Epistemology, and their interface
Selim Berker received his Ph.D. in philosophy from MIT in 2007. He also holds undergraduate and master's degrees in physics from Harvard. His primary research interests are in ethics and epistemology, which he sees as two aspects of the same field—ethics being the study of what, if anything, we ought to do, and epistemology the study of what, if anything, we ought to believe.
For additional information, as well as copies of his CV and recent publications, see Prof. Berker's personal website.
K. Lindsey Chambers
Lindsey Chambers has research interests in normative ethics, bioethics, and social and political philosophy. She earned her PhD at UCLA in 2016, and she was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for Ethics and the Center for Biomedical Ethics. Her research focuses on the ethics of shaping future persons through the use of reproductive selection. She argues that procreators can wrong their offspring just by failing to act well in their role as prospective parents. She uses the case of procreation to illuminate broader issues in normative ethics about how you can wrong someone without harming her, the relevance of motives to directed or personal wronging, and how the relations we stand in to other persons can generate special obligations to them.
Assoc. Director of Undergraduate Studies
Research Interests: Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Religion
Cheryl Chen received her Ph.D. in philosophy from UC Berkeley and taught at Bryn Mawr College before coming to Harvard in 2006. She works mainly in epistemology and the philosophy of mind, though she also has interests in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, the history of philosophy, and applied ethics. Research topics include: transcendental arguments, the relation between perception and belief, first person thought, the epistemology of religious experience, and the passage of time.
Research Interests: History of Philosophy, Plato, Philosophy of Action, and Philosophy of Mind
James Doyle received his BA from Cambridge University and his PhD from the University of Virginia. He has been lecturer and then senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Bristol (1998-2011) and long-term Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2011-2015). He is interested in the history of philosophy, especially Plato, and in certain issues in the philosophy of action and mind. He is working on books on Plato's Gorgias and the philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe.
On leave AY 2018-19
Research Interests: Mathematical Logic, Development of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical Logic, and Metaphysics
Warren Goldfarb, W. B. Pearson Professor of Modern Mathematics and Mathematical Logic, received his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard and has been on the faculty since 1975. His teaching and research interests center on mathematical logic, on the development of analytic philosophy, particularly Frege, Russell, Carnap, Quine, and Wittgenstein (early and late), and on the interrelationships of logic and philosophy and the issues in metaphysics and philosophical logic that are at the heart of the analytic tradition.
He edited Jacques Herbrand's Logical Writings (1971), co-authored (with Burton Dreben) The Decision Problem: Solvable Classes of Quantificational Formulas (1979), and co-edited Kurt Gödel's Collected Works, vol. III (1995), vols. IV-V (2003). His textbook, Deductive Logic, was published in 2003.
Among his principal papers are "Logic in the Twenties: the Nature of the Quantifier" (1979), "The Undecidability of the Gödel Class with Identity" (1984); "Poincare Against the Logicists" (1987), "Russell's Reasons for Ramification" (1988), and "Frege's Conception of Logic" (2001); "I Want You to Bring Me a Slab: Remarks on the Opening Sections of the Philosophical Investigations" (1983), "Kripke on Wittgenstein on Rules" (1985), "Wittgenstein on Understanding" (1992), and "Wittgenstein on Fixity of Meaning" (1997). Recent work includes “On Gödel's Way In: the Influence of Rudolf Carnap” (2005), “Das Überwinden: Non-realist Readings of Wittgenstein's Tractatus” (2011), “Rule-Following Revisited” (2013), “On Dummett's ‘Proof-Theoretic Justification of Logical Laws’” (2015), and “Wittgenstein against Logicism” (forthcoming).
David Gray Grant
David received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2018. His research focuses on ethical issues in the design of automated decision systems and autonomous software agents. He also leads the Embedded EthiCS Teaching Lab at Harvard University as part of his work with the Harvard Embedded EthiCS program. The program is a joint effort between the philosophy and computer science departments at Harvard, and develops ethics modules for preexisting computer science courses.
In 2017, David was a summer research fellow at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society. He previously studied philosophy as an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill.
Edward J. Hall
On leave AY 2018-19
Research Interests: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Science
I work on a range of topics in metaphysics and epistemology that overlap with philosophy of science. (Which is to say: the best topics in metaphysics and epistemology.) Are there “fundamental” laws of nature? What are they – as distinct, say, from accidentally true generalizations, or the causal generalizations that seem to figure in the special sciences? Suppose it’s a truism that one of the central aims of scientific inquiry is to uncover the causal structure of our world (at many different time- and length-scales); what does “causal structure” need to mean, for this truism to be not merely true but illuminating? What are the varieties of probability, and can any of them be said to be properly “objective”? What would it take for one science to “reduce” to another? Must fundamental physics have an intelligible ontology – and if so, what does this constraint amount to? Is there any need for a conception of ‘metaphysical possibility’ that outstrips physical possibility? Can there be any basis for skepticism about unobservable structure that is not also, and equally, a basis for skepticism about unobserved structure? (And so on.) I firmly believe that philosophical discourse always goes better if the parties involved resolutely avoid any “burden-shifting” maneuvers, and that teaching always goes better if you bring cookies.
Research Interests: Greek philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle
My research and teaching is focused on classical Greek philosophy, and especially on Plato and Aristotle. I think about such questions as:
My attempted answers to these and other questions can be found at one or the other of the following webpages:
DASH: Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard.
Rusty Jones' profile at Academia.edu.
Research Interests: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Perception, Philosophy of Literature, French and German Philosophy
Sean Kelly earned an Sc.B. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.S. in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from Brown University in 1989. After several years as a graduate student in Logic and Methodology of Science, he finally received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. He taught in Philosophy and the Humanities at Stanford and in Philosophy and Neuroscience at Princeton before joining the Harvard Faculty in 2006. His work focuses on various aspects of the philosophical, phenomenological, and cognitive neuroscientific nature of human experience. This gives him a broad forum: recent work has addressed, for example, the experience of time, the possibility of demonstrating that monkeys have blindsighted experience, and the understanding of the sacred in Homer. He has taught courses on 20th century French and German Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Perception, Imagination and Memory, Aesthetics, and Philosophy of Literature.
Research Interests: Mathematical Logic, Set Theory, and the Philosophy of Mathematics
Peter Koellner joined the department in 2003 after receiving his Ph.D from MIT. His main areas of research are mathematical logic - primarily set theory - and the philosophy of mathematics. He has teaching interests in the philosophy of physics, early analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of logic and language. He enjoys discussing a wide variety of philosophical topics.
In 2008, Professor Koellner was awarded a Kurt Gödel Centenary Research Prize Fellowship.
Christine M. Korsgaard
On leave Spring 2019
Research Interests: Moral Philosophy and its history, Practical Reason, Agency, Personal Identity, and Human/Animal Relations
Christine M Korsgaard (PhD Harvard, 1981) works on moral philosophy and its history, practical reason, agency, personal identity, and human/animal relations. She is the author of four books. The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge, 1996), an expanded version of her 1992 Tanner Lectures, examines the history of ideas about the foundations of obligation in modern moral philosophy and presents an account of her own. Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge, 1996) is a collection of her essays on Kant's Ethics and Kantian Ethics. The Constitution of Agency (Oxford, 2008) is a collection of her recent papers on practical reason and moral psychology. And Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity (Oxford, 2009) is a book about the foundation of morality in the nature of agency. She is also one of the editors of Reclaiming the History of Ethics: Essays for John Rawls (Cambridge, 1997). In recent years she has taught courses on Kant's Ethical Theory, the History of Modern Moral Philosophy, Contemporary Ethical Theory, Practical Reason, and Action.
Korsgaard has held positions at Yale, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago, as well as visiting positions at Berkeley and UCLA. She received her B.A at the University of Illinois in 1974; her PhD at Harvard in 1981; and holds honorary degrees from the University of Illinois (2004) and Groningen University (2014).
For more information, see Prof. Korsgaard's personal website.
Research Interests: Kant, Phenomenology, Neo-Kantianism, Aesthetics, Perception
Samantha Matherne’s primary research interests lie in exploring the reciprocal relationship between perception and aesthetics. She approaches these issues largely through a historical lens, as they are taken up by Kant and developed in Post-Kantian traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially Phenomenology and Neo-Kantianism.
History of Philosophy Workshop Coordinator
On leave Fall 2018
Research Interests: Early Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Medieval Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Epistemology
Jeffrey McDonough joined the department in 2005 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. His primary areas of research lie in early modern philosophy, the philosophy of science and especially their intersection. He also has strong interests, however, in medieval philosophy as well as contemporary metaphysics and epistemology. He enjoys discussing a wide range of philosophical topics.
Emilio Mora has a master’s degree in philosophy from Monash University (Australia) and received his Ph.D. from New York University in 2018. His research interests lie mainly in moral and political philosophy as well as a number of areas in social and legal philosophy. His recent research has centered on the topic of historical injustice claims; the relation between distributive justice and justice in rectification; institutional and group agency/responsibility; and questions regarding the division of responsibility between individuals and institutions. He has long standing research interests in the analysis of harm; the non-identity problem; proximate cause; group rights, and Rawlsian political theory
Research Interests: Philosophy of Mind, Moral Psychology, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Literature, later Wittgenstein
Professor Richard Moran received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1989 and began teaching at Princeton, coming to Harvard in 1995. His interests include philosophy of mind and moral psychology, the nature of testimony, aesthetics and the philosophy of literature, and the later Wittgenstein.
He has recently taught courses on the above topics, and on speech-acts, philosophy of action, self-consciousness and intersubjectivity, and Marcel Proust.
He has published papers on metaphor, on imagination and emotional engagement with art, on action and practical knowledge, and speech and testimony. His book, Authority and Estrangement: An Essay on Self-Knowledge, was published by Princeton University Press in 2001. A collection of his papers, The Philosophical Imagination, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2017. His book The Exchange of Words: Speech, Testimony, and Intersubjectivity will appear from OUP in 2018. Recent publications include:
* ‘Kant, Proust, and the Appeal of Beauty’, Critical Inquiry vol. 38, no. 2, Winter 2012
* "Self-knowledge, 'Transparency', and the Forms of Activity" in Introspection and Consciousness, edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar (OUP, 2012).
* 'Williams, History, and "the impurity of philosophy’, The European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 24, no. 2, June 2016.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Research Interests: Philosophy of Language, and Philosophy of Mind
Bernhard Nickel's research centers on the philosophy of language. He is currently investigating the viability of truth-conditional semantics for natural language, working on a broadly quantificational account of generics. This project raises questions in adjacent areas, especially the philosophy of science: what is a natural kind? What is the connection between explanation and generality? Hopefully, these areas will illuminate each other. He is also interested in debates in the philosophy of mind, especially the nature of representation.
He joined the department in 2006 after receiving his Ph.D. from MIT in 2005. Some of his papers are available on his website.
Director of Graduate Studies
Research Interests: Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology
Professor Mark Richard joined the Department in the Fall of 2010. He specializes in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and metaphysics and epistemology. He attended Hamilton College, the University of Freiburg in West Germany and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Richard has published several books (Propositional Attitudes , Meaning , and When Truth Gives Out ) and numerous articles, some of which are collected in the forthcoming collection of his papers Meaning in Context.
Richard's current research interests include foundational issues in semantics (including the question of whether the semantics of discursive talk is invariably to be given by characterizing its truth conditions), the semantics of particular constructions (including the tenses and epistemic modals), vagueness, and issues on the borderline between epistemology and metaethics (for example, the conditions under which awareness of disagreement about normative matters should reduce one's confidence in one's normative beliefs). Richard is an avid hiker, an adequate cook of Mexican and Thai food, and a mediocre woodworker.
For downloadable copies of some of his work in progress and recent publications, please visit his personal website.
On leave Fall 2018
Research Interests: Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, and Formal Epistemology
The goal of Susanna Rinard's research is to determine what we should believe—in science, philosophy, and everyday life—and how probability can be used to model rational belief. She has argued that philosophical reasoning can rationally overturn common sense, and that even skeptics about the external world can be persuaded that we have knowledge of it. She has developed a new Bayesian solution to the paradox of the ravens and a novel decision theory for imprecise credences, and is working on a better probabilistic model of belief. Future research plans concern the ethics of belief and pragmatic responses to the skeptic. Please visit her personal website to download her papers.
Rinard earned a BA from Stanford University and a PhD from MIT, and taught at the University of Missouri - Kansas City for three years before joining the Department of Philosophy at Harvard in 2014.
On leave Fall 2018
Research Interests: Ancient Philosophy, especially Aristotle
Jacob Rosen’s research focuses on ancient philosophy, especially Aristotle’s views in physics, metaphysics, and logic. Rosen earned his PhD from Princeton (2008), was a Bersoff Fellow in NYU’s philosophy department, and spent several years at the Humboldt University in Berlin, first as a research fellow in Excellence Cluster TOPOI, then as Academic Coordinator in the Humboldt University’s Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy.
On leave AY 2018-19
Research Interests: Gender Justice, Educational Justice, and Political Legitimacy
Gina Schouten received her PhD in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has spent the past three year as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Illinois State University. Her research interests include gender justice, educational justice, and political legitimacy. She has recently been working on projects concerning the legitimacy of political interventions to alter the gendered division of labor, in which she argues that progressive gender egalitarian political interventions can constitute legitimate exercises of political power. She is currently working on a series of papers that apply her work on political legitimacy to issues of educational justice. Gina has also written on the challenge of diversifying the discipline of philosophy, justice in higher education, and various topics in applied ethics.
On leave Spring 2019
Research Interests: Economics and Economic Theory, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law
Amartya Sen is Thomas W Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Earlier on he was Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics, and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University.
Amartya Sen has served as President of the Econometric Society, the American Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association, and the International Economic Association. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor. His research has ranged over social choice theory, economic theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, theory of measurement, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies. Amartya Sen’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and include Choice of Techniques (1960), Growth Economics (1970), Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), Choice, Welfare and Measurement (1982), Commodities and Capabilities (1987), The Standard of Living (1987), Development as Freedom (1999), Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006), The Idea of Justice (2009), and (jointly with Jean Dreze) An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions (2013).
Amartya Sen’s awards include Bharat Ratna (India); Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur (France); the National Humanities Medal (USA); Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Brazil); Honorary Companion of Honour (UK); Aztec Eagle (Mexico); Edinburgh Medal (UK); the George Marshall Award (USA); the Eisenhauer Medal (USA); and the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Research Interests: Africana Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Race, and Social Theory
Tommie Shelby received his B.A. from Florida A & M University (1990) and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh (1998). Prior to coming to Harvard in 2000, he taught philosophy at Ohio State University (1996-2000). He is the author of Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (Belknap, 2016) and We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Belknap, 2005) and coeditor (with Derrick Darby) of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court, 2005).
Other recent publications include:
“Richard Wright: Realizing the Promise of the West,” in African American Political Thought: A Collected History, ed. Melvin Rogers and Jack Turner (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).
“Impure Dissent: Hip Hop and the Political Ethics of Marginalized Black Urban Youth,” in From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age, ed. Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), pp. 59-79.
“Liberalism, Self-Respect, and Troubling Cultural Patterns in Ghettos,” in The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth, ed. Orlando Patterson and Ethan Fosse (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 498-532.
“Inequality, Integration, and Imperatives of Justice: A Review Essay,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 42 (Summer 2014): 253-285.
“Racism, Moralism, and Social Criticism,” Du Bois Review 11.1 (2014): 57-74.
“Racial Realities and Corrective Justice: A Reply to Charles Mills,” Critical Philosophy of Race 1.2 (2013): 145-162.
“Race” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, ed. David Estlund (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 336-353.
“The Ethics of Uncle Tom’s Children,” Critical Inquiry 38 (Spring 2012): 513-532.
"Justice and Racial Conciliation: Two Visions," Daedalus 140 (Winter 2011): 95-107.
Research Interests: Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language
Susanna Siegel received her PhD from Cornell University. She currently works on topics in the philosophy of mind and epistemology. Her books The Contents of Visual Experience (2010) and The Rationality of Perception (2017) were both published by Oxford University Press. Other publications include:
- “Inference without Reckoning”. In M. Balcerak-Jackson and B. Balcerak-Jackson, eds. New Essays on Reasoning. Oxford University Press.
- “Rich or Thin?” Debate with Alex Byrne about the contents of perception. In Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Perception. Ed. B. Nanay. Routledge. 2016.
- “How is Wishful Seeing like Wishful Thinking?” In Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 2016.
- “Epistemic Charge” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. 2015.
- “Epistemic Evaluability and Perceptual Farce” In J. Zeimbekis and A. Raftopoulos. New Essays in Cognitive Penetration. Oxford University Press. 2015.
- “Cognitive Penetrability: Modularity, Epistemology, and Ethics” with Zoe Jenkin. Review of Psychology and Philosophy. 2015.
- The Epistemology of Selection Effects (2013) in Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Ed. T. Gendler. Book Symposium on The Contents of Visual Experience. With comments by John Campbell, Jesse Prinz and Charles Travis.
- "The Epistemic Impact of the Etiology of Experience", forthcoming in Philosophical Studies as a Symposium with responses by Richard Fumerton, Michael Huemer and Matthew McGrath.
- "Cognitive Penetrability and Perceptual Justification", Noûs 2012
- "The Visual Experience of Causation", Philosophical Quarterly (2009)
- "The Epistemic Conception of Hallucination", in F. Macpherson, Ed, Disjunctivism: Perception, Knowledge and Action (Oxford University Press, 2008)
- "Indiscriminability and the Phenomenal", Philosophical Studies 120 (2004)
- "Which Properties are Represented in Perception?" in T. Gendler and J. Hawthorne, Perceptual Experience (Oxford University Press, 2006)
- "The Role of Perception in Demonstrative Reference," Philosophers' Imprint (2002)
- "Subject and Object in the Contents of Visual Experience," Philosophical Review 115:3 (2006)
- "How Does Visual Phenomenology Constrain Object-seeing?" Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2006)
- "Direct Realism and Perceptual Consciousness," Philosophy & Phenomenological Research (2006)
- "Presupposition and Policing in Complex Demonstratives," Noûs 40 (2006)
- "The Phenomenology of Efficacy", Philosophical Topics (2006)
Copies of these papers and others can be found on Professor Siegel's website.
Interim Chair AY 2018-19
Research Interests: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Perception, Early Modern Philosophy
Alison Simmons received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. The bulk of her teaching is in early modern philosophy, natural philosophy, and theories of mind. She also has teaching interests, however, in medieval philosophy, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology.
Her research interests lie primarily at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. She works on questions about the nature of mind in general, the nature of sense perception in particular, and conceptions of the relation between mind and world as they have developed historically from the ancient through the medieval and early modern periods, and also as it is discussed today. Her recent publications include:
- “Representation,” The Cambridge Descartes Lexicon, ed. Larry Nolan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016): 645-654.
- “Sensory Perception of Body: Meditation 6.5” in The Cambridge Companion to Descartes’ Meditations, ed. David Cunning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014): 258-276.
- “Perception in Early Modern Philosophy” in the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception, ed. Mohan Matthen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015): 81-99.
- “Cartesian Consciousness Reconsidered,” Philosophers’ Imprint 12(2) (January 2012): 1-21.
- “Leibnizian Consciousness Re-Considered” Studia leibnitiana 43(2) (2011): 196-215.
- “Sensation in the Malebranchean Mind,” Topics in Early Modern Theories of Mind, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Mind 9, edited by Jon Miller (Springer Press, 2009): 105-129.
- “Guarding the Body: A Cartesian Phenomenology of Perception,” Contemporary Perspectives on Early Modern Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Vere Chappell, edited by Paul Hoffman and Gideon Yaffe (Broadview Press, 2008), 81-113.
- "Spatial Perception from a Cartesian Point of View" Philosophical Topics 31, 395-423 (2003)
- "Descartes on the Cognitive Structure of Sensory Experience," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67(3), 549-579 (2003)
- "Changing the Cartesian Mind: Leibniz on Sensation, Representation and Consciousness," The Philosophical Review 110 (2001)
- "Sensible Ends" Latent Teleology in Descartes' Account of Sensation," Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2001)
In 2011, Professor Simmons was named a Harvard College Professor.
Lucas Stanczyk works on topics at the intersection of political philosophy and political economy. His book manuscript develops a theory of justice in production. His other research and teaching is focused on ethical problems in global energy policy, and the ethics of growing inequality. He has been assistant professor of political science and affiliated faculty of philosophy at MIT. In 2017 he joined the philosophy department at Harvard.
W. Hugh Woodin
Department of Linguistics
Gennaro Chierchia has spent his intellectual life studying how meaning takes shape in language. A common thread in his work is the idea/claim/speculation that a logic (a way of drawing inferences) spontaneously grows and latches on to the syntactic structures produced by our capacity for recursive computation. This ‘natural logic’ gives a special power to our ability to use language to communicate and refer, a power not found in other species.
Some more specific recurring themes/obsessions are properties and predication (control/raising/ de se attributions), Noun Phrase structure (quantified vs. ‘bare’ nominals, mass vs. count), anaphora and presuppositions, implicatures and polarity phenomena. He is also very interested in pursuing these topics by experimental means.
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Khaled El-Rouayheb is a Professor of Islamic Intellectual History at the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at Harvard University. His research interests include: the intellectual and cultural history of the Arabic-Islamic world in the early-modern period (1500-1800); the history of Arabic logic; Islamic theology and philosophy. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), a MA in Middle Eastern History from the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), and a PhD (2003) in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). He has been a Junior Research Fellow of the British Academy (2003-2006), a Junior Mellon Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2008-2009), and a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2011-12).
Department of the History of Science
Director, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments
The central component of Peter Galison's work involves the exploration of twentieth century microphysics (atomic, nuclear, particle physics). In particular, he examines physics as a closely interconnected set of scientific subcultures: experimenters, instrument makers, and theorists. For example, in How Experiments End (Chicago, 1987), he examined the ways in which experimenters come to the decision that they have an effect, not an artifact of the apparatus or environment. What role does theory play in the establishment of data reduction strategies, in triggering, or in the experimental set-up itself? How do large groups decide something is real? More recently, he has been interested in the long-standing competition between image-producing instruments such as bubble chambers, cloud chambers, and nuclear emulsions on one side, and the "logic" devices such as counters, spark chambers, and wire chambers on the other. Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (Chicago, 1997) examines this duality and seeks to locate specific experimental technologies in the wider scientific and nonscientific world. Professor Galison is now turning to a history of postwar quantum field theory, in which he views QFT as a "trading zone" between different domains of physics (e.g. particle cosmology, mathematics, condensed matter physics).
On the side, he has tried to examine links between the history of science and neighboring fields - how, for example, historians of science and historians of art share methods and strategies.
Peter E. Gordon
Department of History
Harvard College Professor
Peter E. Gordon is the Amabel B. James Professor of History, Faculty Affilitate in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. He works chiefly on themes in Continental philosophy and social thought in Germany and France in the late-modern era, with an emphasis on critical theory, Western Marxism, the Frankfurt School, phenomenology, and existentialism. Primarily a scholar of modern European social theory, he has published major works on Heidegger, the Frankfurt School, Jürgen Habermas, and Theodor W. Adorno. His book Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy (2003) received four international awards, including the Salo Baron Prize for the best book in Jewish history, the Goldstein-Goren Prize for the best book in Jewish philosophy, and the Forkosch Prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas. His second book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos (2010) received the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society. His most recent monograph, Adorno and Existence, was published by Harvard University Press in 2016. He is also co-author of Authoritarianism: Three Inquiries in Critical Theory with Wendy Brown and Max Pensky (2018). He has also edited numerous collections, including The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (2007); The Modernist Imagination: Essays in Intellectual History and Critical Theory (2008); Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (2013); and The Trace of God: Derrida and Religion (2014). He is co-editor with Warren Breckman of The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought (forthcoming), and he is co-editor with Espen Hammer and Axel Honneth of The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School (2018), and co-editor with Espen Hammer and Max Pensky of The Blackwell Companion to Adorno (forthcoming). He is currently writing a book on secularization and social theory since Max Weber. He will deliver the Adorno Lectures at the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt in June, 2019. A full listing of his publications can be found by consulting the "publications" link, by consulting his CV, or by following the link above to publications on amazon.
27 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies
I am currently Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy at Harvard University, where I have been teaching since receiving my PhD from the University of Chicago in 2002. From 2011-2017, I was Chair of the then newly formed Department of South Asian Studies.
My primary academic interests are in the history of philosophy in India and its relevance to disciplinary work in Philosophy, South Asian Studies, and the Study of Religion, the three program units in which I teach. Although my philosophical interests are quite broad, I have focused on Buddhist philosophy in India, the Old and New Epistemologists, and Indian traditions of physicalism and skepticism. I also have long-standing interests in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy of religion.
Against a Hindu God (Columbia 2009) is a book-length work on Buddhist epistemology and the philosophy of language and mind that supports it. Its textual focus is the work of a Buddhist philosopher named Ratnakīrti and his critique of Nyāya inferential arguments for the existence of God. Buddhist Philosophy of Language in India (Columbia 2010), which I co-authored with my colleague Lawrence J. McCrea, is a study of Jñānaśrīmitra’s Monograph on Exclusion, a text in which he develops and defends the famous Buddhist theory of Apoha.
Jñānaśrīmitra and his student Ratnakīrti lived and worked at the monastic and educational complex of Vikramaśīla during the final phase of Buddhism in India. Philosophy at Vikramaśīla continues to fascinate me. At present, I am working on late Buddhist debates on the possibility of contentless consciousness, the metaphysics of relational properties, mereology, and an inference-rule called antarvyāpti.
I am also at work on two book length projects on the New Epistemologists of late pre-modern and early modern India. A Reader in the New Epistemologists (Columbia 2020), which is part of the Historical Sourcebook in Indian Traditions series at Columbia University Press, and a monograph, Belief, Desire, and Motivation in the Philosopher’s Stone, which is on Gaṅgeśa’s Tattvacintāmaṇi.
Recent work that is unrelated to these projects include, The Impossibility of Freedom in Pre-Modern India, Why Metaphors Are Not a Source of Knowledge, and Dummett in India. In addition to philosophy, I also have interests in classical Sanskrit literature and literary theory and the history of Buddhism in India.
Kennedy School of Government
Professor Risse works mostly in social and political philosophy and in ethics. His primary research areas are contemporary political philosophy (in particular questions of international justice, distributive justice, and property) and decision theory (in particular, rationality and fairness in group decision making, an area sometimes called analytical social philosophy.) His articles have appeared in journals such as Ethics; Philosophy and Public Affairs; Nous; the Journal of Political Philosophy; and Social Choice and Welfare. Risse studied philosophy, mathematics, and mathematical economics at the University of Bielefeld, the University of Pittsburgh, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Princeton University. He received his BA, BS and MS in mathematics from Bielefeld, and his MA and PhD in philosophy from Princeton. Before coming to Harvard he taught in the Department of Philosophy and the Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale. His books On Global Justice and Global Political Philosophy were both published in 2012.
Department of Government
Michael Rosen is a professor of political theory in the Government Department and has worked on a wide variety of topics in philosophy, social theory and the history of ideas. He is particularly interested in 19th and 20th century European philosophy and in contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy.
He studied PPE as an undergraduate in Oxford (1970-74) before studying in Frankfurt and returning to complete his doctorate under Charles Taylor at Oxford (1980). Professor Rosen has taught at Harvard, Oxford, and University College London before becoming Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Lincoln College, Oxford (1990). He moved to Harvard in 2006.
Professor Rosen is on leave in 2014-2015.
Cornel R. West
Harvard Divinity School
Department of African and African American Studies, Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, the University of Paris, Princeton, and, most recently, Union Theological Seminary. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his MA and PhD in philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and on Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show.
He made his film debut in the Matrix—and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call + Response, Sidewalk, and Stand.
Last, he has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome, Raheem DeVaughn’s Grammy-nominated Love & War: Masterpeace, and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ The Funk Capital of the World. Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.—a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
- AB, Harvard University
- MA, PhD, Princeton University
- Brother West: Loving and Living Out Loud (Smiley Books, 2009) Amazon
- Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism (Penguin Books, 2004) Publisher page
- Race Matters (Beacon Press, 1993) Publisher page
Full list of books found at CornelWest.com
For media inquiries or requests, please contact Professor West’s assistant.