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  • Alice Crary

    University Distinguished Professor


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    Alice Crary


    Recent interviews herehere, here and here.

    Personal website here.

    Alice Crary is University Distinguished Professor (Philosophy, Liberal Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies) and also Visiting Fellow at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford. She was Chair of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research (2014-2017) and Founding Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies (2014-2017). 

    A moral and social philosopher, Crary has written widely on issues in metaethics, moral psychology and normative ethics, philosophy and literature, philosophy and feminism, critical animal studies, critical environmental studies, critical disability studies, and Critical Theory as well as on figures such as Austin, Cavell, Diamond, Foot, Murdoch and Wittgenstein. Her most recent book (co-authored with Lori Gruen) Animal Crisis: A New Critical Theory (Polity, 2022) argues for a radical reimagining of our relationship with animals via seven case studies of complex human-animal relations. Pioneering primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall commented that the work "presents the reader with the most thorough research into the ways in which animal lives are understood."

    Crary's previous book, Inside Ethics: On the Demands of Moral Thought (Harvard University Press, 2016), is a monograph on the representation of animals and humans in ethical discourse. The book has been described as “a sweeping challenge to several widely shared orthodoxies in metaphysics and moral philosophy.” Crary is also known for Beyond Moral Judgment (Harvard, 2007), which challenges received images of the nature and difficulty of moral thought, 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 recently co-edited a special issue of Philosophical Topics on “Social Visibility” (Vol. 49, Issue 1, Spring 2021). Current projects include a monograph entitled Radical Animal on dehumanization, animals and critique; a monograph on Wittgenstein and Political Thought co-written with Joel de Lara (contracted with Cambridge University Press); and a collection, The Good it Promises, The Harm it Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism, co-edited with Carol Adams and Lori Gruen (Oxford University Press, 2022). 

    Together with Nancy Bauer, Arnold Davidson, and Sandra Laugier, Crary is one of the executor advisors to Stanley Cavell’s literary estate. The first volume from Cavell's Nachlass, Here and There: Sites of Philosophy (co-edited by Bauer, Crary and Laugier) appeared with Harvard University Press in 2022. Christopher Benfey wrote in a New York Review of Books review: "What comes across most powerfully... is Cavell's attentive listening, throughout his long and distinguished career, for what one might call the hum of humanity."

    Crary is a member of a number of international research groups devoted to subjects such as ordinary language philosophy, social justice and critical theory, and feminism and philosophy. Crary is the NSSR's organizer for the Berlin Critical Theory Summer School. She is the faculty sponsor of the New York Wittgenstein Workshop ([email protected]), and she runs an ongoing works-in-progress for the students in her research group. She was an officer of ESWIP (Eastern Society for Women in Philosophy) 2019-2021. At Oxford, she was the founding senior member or faculty sponsor of the student organization pwip (people for womxn in philosophy), and she continues her involvement with students as an academic advisor to opp (Oxford public philosophy).

    Crary is a founding co-convener of The Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Social Philosophy. This is a collective endeavor by faculty and graduate students from the New School for Social Research and Vanderbilt University. Conceived to recognize groundbreaking philosophical work tackling questions of social epistemology, social ontology, theories of race, gender, class, ability, animality, and the natural environment, the first biennial Prize was awarded in the spring of 2021 to groundbreaking social philosopher Dr. Robert Gooding-Williams, an occasion celebrated with a public lecture including responses from philosophers and social theorists. For more information, please visit www.SocialPhilosophyPrize.org, or contact Crary and the other organizers at [email protected].

    During 2021-2022 she was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, on leave from the New School. During summer 2023, she will co-curate, with Alex Aleinikoff, the 30th annual Summer Institute of Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS), with the topic "Climate Crisis and Questions of Justice," in Wrocław, Poland. 

    Degrees Held

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

    Recent Publications


    Animal Crisis, together with Lori Gruen, Polity 2022.

    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 2022).

    Wittgenstein and Political Philosophy, co-written with Joel de Lara, contracted with Cambridge University Press, anticipated for 2023. 


    Edited Volumes:

    The Good it Promises, The Harm it Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism, co-edited with Carol Adams and Lori Gruen, Oxford University Press, 2022.

    Stanley Cavell, Here and There: Sites of Philosophy, co-edited with Nancy Bauer and Sandra Laugier, Harvard University Press, 2022.

    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:

    Social Visibility, an issue of Philosophical Topics on ideology, social justice and critique, co-edited with Matt Congdon (Spring 2021).

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


    Selected Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

    “Objectivity’s Politics,” forthcoming.

    “Tolstoy: Literature and Animal Life,” in Clair Linzey, ed., Animal Theologians, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    “Editors’ Introduction,” with Nancy Bauer and Sandra Laugier, to Stanley Cavell, Here and There: Sites of Philosophy, Harvard University Press, 2022.

    "Against Effective Altruism," Radical Philosophy, 2.10, Summer 2021. 

    “Neutrality, Critique and Social Visibility: Response to Beaver and Stanley,” Philosophical Topics, Summer/Fall 2021. 

    “Dehumanization and the Question of Animals,” in Maria Kronfeldner, ed., Routledge Handbook on Dehumanization, London: Routledge, 2021.  

    “The Theory and Practice of Racial Visibility: Response to Medina,” in Robin Celikates, Sally Haslanger and Jason Stanley, eds., Ideology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.  

    “Seeing Animal Suffering,” in Maria Balaska, ed., Cora Diamond on Ethics, London: Palgrave McMillan, 2021.  

    “Recovering the Core of Critique: Response to Jaeggi’s ‘Lebensformen als Problemlösungsinstanzen’,” in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 2019.

    “A Continuing Engagement with Endangered and Excluded Scholars: Confronting political barriers that hinder the progress of knowledge,” co-written with Johan Heilbron and Ian Jauslin, in IAS’s  The Institute Letter, Spring 2019, and also online in two different versions at https://www.sss.ias.edu/sites/sss.ias.edu/files/pdfs/History-Working-Group/Continuing%20Engagement%202.pdfand https://www.ias.edu/ideas/continuing-engagement-endangered-and-excluded-scholars.

    "The Character of Whose Virtue? Response to Hauerwas," in The Syndicate, https://syndicate.network/theology/, 2019.

    "Humanistic Thought as a Route to the Value of Humanity" (in Spanish as "El Pensamiento Humanista Como Ruta Hacia el Valor de la Humanidad") in Miguel Giusti, ed., El Conflicto de las Facultades. Sobre la Universidad el Sentido de los Humanidades, published jointly by Anthropos Publishing House (Madrid) and the Editorial Fund of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima), 2019.

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

    "For My Teacher, Stanley Cavell," forthcoming in Conversations, 2019.

    A Portuguese translation of this piece by Helena Carneiro is published as "Para o Meu Professor," in Forma de Vida, no. 15, https://formavida.org/.

    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, vol. 39., no. 2, 2019, 317-339.

    "Cavell and Critique," Conversations, 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.

    “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, https://syndicate.network/, 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 published as “Stanley Cavell e a Contradição Americana” in Forma de Vida, no.15,  https://formadevida.org/.

    "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.

    This article has been superseded by a revised and expanded version, which is published as "Wittgenstein Does Critical Theory," in Richard Amesbury, Hartmut von Sass and Christoph Ammann, eds., Doing Ethics with Wittgenstein, Bloomsbury, 2019. Anyone interested in the material should consult the updated version.

    "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: ¿cuál es el problema con 'feminismo analítico'?," translated by Gonzalo Bustamante Moya. Debates en paralelo. Forthcoming. http://www.debatefeminista.cieg.unam.mx/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/crary.pdf

    "'Stories to Meditate on': Animals in Gaita's Narrative Philosophy," in Ana Falcato, ed., Philosophy in the Condition of Modernism, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

    Research Interests

    Moral Philosophy; Social Philosophy, including Critical Theory, Cognitive Disability and Philosophy and Critical Philosophy of Race; Critical Animal Studies; Critical Environmental Studies; Aesthetics, especially Philosophy and Literature; Wittgenstein/Austin/Speech Act Theory; Feminism and Philosophy

    Future Courses

    Climate, Migration, Critique
    GPHI 6160, Fall 2024

    Ethics & Social Thought
    LPHI 3068, Spring 2025

    Ind Senior Project
    LPHI 4990, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

    Independent Study
    LPHI 3950, Fall 2024

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2025

    Independent Study
    GPHI 6990, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

    The Death of Nature
    ULEC 2774, Fall 2024

    The Turn Toward Virtue
    GPHI 6670, Spring 2025

    Past Courses

    Ind Senior Project
    LPHI 4990, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    LPHI 3950, Fall 2023

    Independent Study
    GPHI 6990, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2024

    LPHI 2011, Spring 2024

    Philosophy and Ecology
    GPHI 6293, Fall 2023

    The Death of Nature
    ULEC 2774, Fall 2023

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