To download CV (with long dissertation abstract), click here.

 

Byron Davies

Harvard Philosophy Department

25 Quincy St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

 

Education

Harvard University, PhD candidate in Philosophy, 2008-present (PhD expected 2017)

Reed College, BA in Philosophy, May 2007

 

Areas of Specialization

Ethics and moral psychology, aesthetics, social and political philosophy and its history

 

Areas of Competence

Philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of action, philosophy and literature, philosophy and film

 

Dissertation

Persons, Things, and the Will: An Essay on Rousseau

Committee: Richard Moran (chair), Matthew Boyle, Frederick Neuhouser

Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed a criticism of relationships of domination that has special salience today, especially in its bearing on the pathologies that can inhere between those of superior and those of inferior social status. But though it is important to Rousseau’s criticism that such domination be understood as involving the violation of another’s personhood, received philosophical notions of personhood, and of “treating persons as things,” are not adequate for capturing Rousseau’s thinking on these pathologies. I develop an affective conception of a person according to which seeing another as a person is a matter of seeing them as a source of differential recognition (recognition that picks oneself out from among many). I argue that the pathologies of domination consist in the dominator’s seeking differential recognition in a way that bypasses the other’s independent powers of evaluation.

 

Academic Honors and Awards

Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, 2016-17

Richard M. Martin Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard Philosophy Department, Fall 2014; 2015-16

Participant, SIAS Summer Institute on the Second Person. National Humanities Center, Aug. 7-19, 2011; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Aug. 5-17, 2012.

Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2012

Class of ’21 Award for exceptional creative work, Reed College, 2007 (Awarded to senior thesis)

Edwin N. Garlan Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarship in philosophy, Reed College, 2007

Phi Beta Kappa, 2007

 

Publications

“The Insult in Not Being Believed: Rousseau and Adam Smith.” The Adam Smith Review. (Provisionally accepted, with revisions.)

“An Autobiography of Companions.” Modern Language Notes 126 (5): 972-78. December 2011. (Issue devoted to Stanley Cavell’s Little Did I Know.)

 

Online Publications

“Spectators and Giants in Rousseau and Víctor Erice.” Aesthetics for Birds. September 2016. https://aestheticsforbirds.com/2016/09/28/spectators-and-giants-in-rousseau-and-victor-erice/

 

Presentations

Amour-Propre and Seeing Others as Persons.”

    *POLETH Research Group in Political, Legal, and Ethical Theory. Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). March 29, 2017.

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy. August 31, 2016.

“Imagination, Artifice, and ‘Walls with a Soul’ in Two Films by Agnès Varda and Alain Resnais.” Harvard Philosophy Department Philosophy and Film Series. April 29, 2016.

“Rousseau on Seeing Others as Persons.” Mahindra Humanities Center “Panaesthetics” Workshop, Harvard University. March 30, 2016.

“Rousseau on Domination and Treating Persons as Things.”

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy. March 24, 2016.

    *Harvard University Philosophy Department Talkshop. December 11, 2015.

“The Insult in Not Being Believed: Rousseau and Adam Smith.”

    *Boston University Graduate Philosophy Conference. October 24, 2015.

    *Conference on Themes from Smith and Rousseau. University of Glasgow. July 21, 2015.

    *Between Ethics and Epistemology: Reflecting on the Work of Miranda Fricker. University of Massachusetts Boston. April 27, 2015.

“Personhood in Rousseau’s Account of Nascent Society.” Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy. May 4, 2015.

Comments on Ginger Clausen, “Fitting Love.” 2015 Harvard-MIT Graduate Student Philosophy Conference. April 18, 2015.

“Rousseau on Persons and Things.”

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy. October 26, 2014

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. May 5, 2014.

“What Role Is There for the Concept of Authority in Thinking about Ordinary Language?” Workshop on French translation of Richard Moran’s Authority and Estrangement. Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne. January 18, 2014.

“Rousseau on Intersubjectivity.” Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. April 15, 2013.

“Appearances of the Self in Rousseau and Kierkegaard.”

    *Annual Harvard Workshop in European Philosophy: The Discourse of Philosophy. December 7, 2012.

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. November, 27, 2012.

“Knowing What We Say.”

    *Giving and Asking for Reasons: A Workshop with Robert Brandom. Universität Basel, Switzerland. May 5, 2012.

    *Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. November 14, 2011.

    *J.L. Austin Centenary Conference, Lancaster University, United Kingdom. April 6, 2011.

“The Importance of the Insult in Not Being Believed.” Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. April 16, 2012.

“An Autobiography of Companions.” Symposium on Stanley Cavell’s Little Did I Know, Johns Hopkins University Humanities Center. April 22, 2011.

“‘Ought’s Safe for Anscombe.” Fordham University Graduate Philosophy Conference on Aristotle in the 21st Century. March 5, 2010.

 

Teaching Experience

Philosophy Department Writing Fellow, Fall 2012-Spring 2013 (Writing instructor for undergraduates taking courses in the Philosophy Department)

    As sole instructor of tutorials for undergraduate majors:

Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, Spring 2015

Rousseau, Spring 2014

Philosophy of Film, Fall 2011

    As teaching assistant:

From Sinners to Sociopaths: The Many Faces of Evil (John Hamilton and Amélie Rorty), Harvard Summer School 2015

Philosophy and Literature: Proust (Richard Moran), Spring 2012

Self, Freedom, and Existence (Richard Moran), Fall 2011

Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy (Alison Simmons), Spring 2011

Introduction to the Problems of Philosophy (Bernhard Nickel), Fall 2010

    As grader:

Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein (Warren Goldfarb), Fall 2015

Aesthetics (Richard Moran), Spring 2014

 

Service

Graduate Representative to Harvard Philosophy Department Faculty, 2014-15

Organizer, Philosophy and Literature Reading Group, 2014-15

Member, CNRS (Centre National de de la Recherche Scientifique) International Research Group, “Philosophie du language ordinaire et conceptions ordinaires en sciences sociales,” 2013-present

Student organizer (assisting Matthew Boyle and Richard Moran), “Self, Knowledge, Expression” Workshop, Harvard University, November 2, 2012

Co-organizer, 2010 Harvard-MIT Graduate Student Philosophy Conference

Contributing editor, OLP and Literary Studies, 2010-present (Academic blog devoted to ordinary language philosophy, literature, and the arts)

Research Assistant for Professor Stanley Cavell, 2009-present

 

Professional Associations

American Philosophical Association

Rousseau Association

American Society of Aesthetics

 

Graduate Courses Taken

(All in Harvard Philosophy Department unless otherwise noted.)

First-Year Colloquium on Causation (Ned Hall and Alison Simmons)

First-Year Colloquium on Ethics (Douglas Lavin)

Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy (various faculty organizers)

Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology (various faculty organizers)

Aristotle on Justice (Gisela Striker)

Ethics and Action (Matthew Boyle and Douglas Lavin)

Topics in Intersubjectivity (Douglas Lavin and Richard Moran)

Deductive Logic (Peter Koellner)

The Rationalists (Jeffrey McDonough)

Kant and Hegel (Matthew Boyle)

Pragmatism (Peter Godfrey-Smith)

Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein (Warren Goldfarb)

Self-Knowledge and Self-Consciousness (Matthew Boyle)

Philosophy of Biology (Peter Godfrey-Smith)

Philosophy Translation Seminar: French (Richard Moran)

Painting, Smoking, Eating (Matt Saunders, Harvard Dept. of Visual and Environmental Studies)

Critical Media Practice (Matt Saunders, Harvard Dept. of Visual and Environmental Studies)

 

Graduate Courses Audited

(All in Harvard Philosophy Department unless otherwise noted.)

Philosophy of Action (Christine Korsgaard)

Kant’s Ethical Theory (Christine Korsgaard)

Hume’s Ethical Theory (Christine Korsgaard)

Equality and Liberty (T.M. Scanlon)

Topics in Ethics: Justice (Douglas Lavin)

Understanding Human Action (Jaegwon Kim, Brown University)

Speech and Intersubjectivity (Richard Moran)

Other Minds (Matthew Boyle and Richard Moran)

Aesthetics (Richard Moran)

On Beauty (Elaine Scarry, Harvard Dept. of English)

 

Languages

English (Native)

French (Research)

Spanish (Research)

 

References

Richard Moran

Brian D. Young Professor of Philosophy

Harvard University

moran@fas.harvard.edu

 

Matthew Boyle

Professor of Philosophy

University of Chicago

mbboyle@uchicago.edu

 

Frederick Neuhouser

Viola Manderfeld Professor of German and Professor of Philosophy

Barnard College, Columbia University

fwn7@columbia.edu

 

Warren Goldfarb (Teaching Reference)

Walter Beverly Pearson Professor of Modern Mathematics and Mathematical Logic

Harvard University

goldfarb@fas.harvard.edu

 

Douglas Lavin

Permanent Lecturer in Philosophy

University College London

d.lavin@ucl.ac.uk