• Alice Crary

    Professor of Philosophy


    Alice Crary is a moral philosopher in the Philosophy Department at the New School for Social Research. She is the author of Inside Ethics: On the Demands of Moral Thought (Harvard, 2016), a monograph on the representation of animals and humans in ethical discourse which has been described as “a sweeping challenge to several widely shared orthodoxies in metaphysics and moral philosophy.” She has written widely on issues in metaethics, moral psychology and normative ethics, philosophy and literature, animals and ethics, philosophy and cognitive disability, and philosophy and feminism, as well as on figures such as Austin, Cavell, Diamond, Foot, Murdoch and Wittgenstein.

    Crary is also known for Beyond Moral Judgment (Harvard, 2007), which challenges received images of the nature and difficulty of moral thought by bringing out the moral dimension of all language. While finishing her doctorate in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, she co-edited and wrote the introduction to The New Wittgenstein (Routledge, 2000), which continues to influence debates over Wittgenstein's philosophy.

    Crary is the co-organizer of Social Visibility, an interdisciplinary workshop on critique and social justice happening April 12-13, 2019 at Vanderbilt University. She is also a member of a number of international research groups devoted to subjects such as ordinary language philosophy, the rational aspirations of social criticism and feminism and philosophy. 

    Crary is a former Chair of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and Founding Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. A recent interview regarding her work and views is available here

    *On leave for the 2018-2019 academic year*

    Degrees Held:

    PhD in Philosophy 1999, University of Pittsburgh
    AB in Philosophy 1990, Harvard

    Recent Publications:


    Inside Ethics: On the Demands of Moral Thought (Harvard University Press, 2016)

    Beyond Moral Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2007)

    Books in Progress: 

    Radical Animal (projected completion summer 2019).


    Edited Volumes:

    Wittgenstein and the Moral Life: Essays in Honor of Cora Diamond (MIT Press, 2007)

    Reading Cavell, co-edited with Sanford Shieh (Routledge, 2006)

    The New Wittgenstein, co-edited with Rupert Read (Routledge, 2000)


    Edited Journal Issues:

    Ordinary Language Philosophy, a special issue of the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, co-edited with Joel de Lara (in progress, for Spring 2019)


    Selected Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

    "For My Teacher, Stanley Cavell," Conversations, 2019. (A Portuguese translation of this piece by Helena Carneiro is forthcoming in the journal Forma de Vida.)

    "Comments on a Contested Comparison: Race and Animals," in Oskari Kuusela and Benjamin De Mesel, eds.,  Ethics in the Wake of Wittgenstein, Routledge, 2019. (A German translation of this chapter will also appear as "Animalität und Ethnizität," trans. Malte Fabian Rauch, in Martin Häbnel und Jörg Noller, eds., Die Natur der Lebensform: Perspektiven in Biologie, Ontologie und praktischer Philosophie, forthcoming.)

    "Objectivity," in James Conant and Sebastian Greves, Wittgenstein: Basic Concepts, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

    "Cavell and Critique," Coversations, issue 6, winter 2019.

    "Animals, Cognitive Disability and Getting the World in Focus in Ethics and Social Thought: Reply to Eva Feder Kittay and Peter Singer," forthcoming in Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moral Philosophie, 2019. (This article is published together with a German synopsis, co-authored with Dagmar Borchers, of my article "The Horrific History of Comparisons between Cognitive Disability and Animality (And How to Move Past It)," and also together with responses to my article by Eva Feder Kittay and Peter Singer.)

    Co-authored with Joel de Lara, "Who's Afraid of Ordinary Language Philosophy? A Plea for Reviving a Wrongly Reviled Tradition," introduction to a special issue of the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, spring 2019.

    "Response to Avner Baz," "Response to Nora Hämäläinen," "Response to Anne-Marie Christensen-Sondergaard," "Response to Aaron Klink," and "Thoughts on Cats and Theology: Response to Stanley Hauerwas," posted as part of a book symposium on Inside Ethics at The Syndicate,, September 3, 2018.

    "Stanley Cavell and the American Contradiction: How to Be a Citizen in a Profoundly Imperfect Nation," co-authored with Nancy Bauer and Sandra Laugier, in The Stone, an online blog of the New York Times, July 2, 2018. (A Portuguese translation of this piece by Helena Carneiro is forthcoming in the journal Forma de Vida.)

    "Putnam and Propaganda," Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, vol.38, no.2, Fall 2017, pp. 385-398.

    "The Horrific History of Comparisons Between Animals and Cognitively Disabled Human Beings (and How to Move Past It)" in Lori Gruen and Fiona Probyn Rapsey, eds., Animaladies, Bloomsbury, 2018.

    "Wittgenstein Goes to Frankfurt (and Finds Something Useful to Say)" in Nordic Wittgenstein Review, June 2018 (An expanded version of this article appears in Richard Amesbury, Hartmut von Sass and Christoph Ammann, eds. Doing Ethics with Wittgenstein, Bloomsbury, 2019).

    "Cognitive Disability and Moral Status," in Adam Cureton and David Wasserman, eds., Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability, Oxford University Press, 2018.

    "Ethics," in Lori Gruen, ed., Critical Terms in Animal Studies, University of Chicago Press, 2018.

    "The Methodological is Political," Radical Philosophy, vol. 2.02, June 2018. (Forthcoming in Spanish as "Lo metodológico es político: ¿qué pasa con el 'feminismo analítico'?," trans. Gonzalo Bustamante Moya, Debates en paraleloin Debate Feminista.) 

    "Coetzee's Quest for Reality," in Patrick Hayes and Jan Wilm, eds., Coetzee and Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2017.

    "Feminist Thought and Rational Authority: Getting Things in Perspective," New Literary History, vol.46, no.2, 2015.

    "A Radical Perfectionist: Revisiting Cavell in the Light of Kant," Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol.48, no.3, 2014.

    “Freedom is for the Dogs,” in Martin G. Weiss and Hajo Greif, eds., Ethics – Society – Politics, De Gruyter, 2013.

    "Imagination and Advocacy," in The Point, issue 6, Winter 2013.

    “W.G. Sebald and the Ethics of Narrative,” Constellations, Spring 2012.

    “Dogs and Concepts,” Philosophy, April 2012.

    "Animals," in Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon, Issue 2, Winter 2012,

    “Minding What Already Matters: A Critique of Moral Individualism,” Philosophical Topics, Spring 2011.

    “A Brilliant Perspective: Diamondian Ethics,” Philosophical Investigations, October 2011.

    Research Interests:

    Moral Philosophy, Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Literature, Feminism and Philosophy, Philosophy and Animals, Philosophy of Mind/Language

    Current Courses:

    Ind Senior Project

    Ind Senior Project (Fall 2018)

    Independent Study

    Independent Study (Fall 2018)

    Philosophy of Wittgenstein

    Radical Animal