• Faculty

  • Alice Crary

    University Distinguished Professor


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    D - Albert & Vera List Academic Center - 6 East 16th Street

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    Alice Crary


    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

    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 (Spring 2019).


    Selected Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

    “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.

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

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

    Research Interests

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

    Current Courses

    Animal Ethics

    Animal,Ethics and Politics

    Ind Senior Project

    Independent Study

    Philosophy of Wittgenstein

    Radical Animal

    Radical Animal (Summer 2019)


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