Seattle, WA, USA
|Alma mater||AB, Philosophy, Harvard University, 1990; PhD, Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 1999|
|Doctoral advisor||John McDowell|
|Other academic advisors||Stanley Cavell, Hilary Putnam|
|Moral philosophy, philosophy and literature, epistemology, feminist philosophy, feminist epistemology, conceptualism, animal ethics, disability studies, The Frankfurt School, objectivity|
|All human beings and animals are inside ethics|
Alice Crary (//; born 1967) is an American philosopher who currently holds the positions of University Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Faculty, The New School for Social Research in New York City and Visiting Fellow at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford, U.K. (where she was Professor of Philosophy 2018–19).
Crary's contributions to philosophy center on moral philosophy, feminism, and Wittgenstein scholarship. She has written about cognitive disability, critical theory, propaganda, nonhuman animal cognition, and the philosophy of literature and narrative. Her thought is especially influenced by Cora Diamond, John McDowell, Stanley Cavell, Hilary Putnam, bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Charles W. Mills, and Peter Winch.
Her first monograph, Beyond Moral Judgment, discusses how literature and feminism help us to reframe our moral presuppositions.
Crary's Inside Ethics argues that our ability to think through ethical problems in disability studies and animal studies is stunted by a lack of moral imagination, caused by a narrow understanding of rationality and by a philosophy severed from the affective responses of literature and art. She offers a picture of objectivity that is within rather than outside of ethical thought.
Crary's work on feminism is critical of standard views of objectivity in analytic philosophy and post-structuralism. In her view, both traditions mistakenly conceive of objectivity as value-neutral, and thus incompatible with ethical and political perspectives. According to Crary, language in all of its forms invites us to both cognitively and ethically appreciate the lives of women in new ways that count as objective knowledge, including from "ethically-loaded perspectives". Like her moral philosophy, her feminist conception of objectivity is informed by Wittgenstein, who she understands as proposing a "wide" view of objectivity: one in which affective responses are not merely non-cognitive persuasive manipulations but reveal real forms of suffering that give us a more objective understanding of the world.
Crary is a leading figure of what is often called the "therapeutic" or "resolute" reading of Wittgenstein. In her influential, co-edited collection of essays of such readings, The New Wittgenstein, her own contribution argues against the standard use-theory readings of Wittgenstein that often render his thought as politically conservative and implausible. Since then, she has cultivated a distinctive reading of Wittgenstein and contributed to numerous collections of Wittgenstein scholarship, including Emotions and Understanding and interpretations of Wittgenstein's On Certainty. Recently, she has argued that critical theory and Wittgensteinian ethical analysis can fruitfully work together toward the aim of liberating social thought.
Crary frequently participates in and organizes events for public discussion, such as public debates on the treatment of animals and the cognitively disabled,. She has also written for the New York Times.
Crary has contributed to international educational activities focusing on the intersection of philosophy with critical theory and political philosophy. These include summer philosophy workshops at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies/New School for Social Research Europe Democracy and Diversity Institute in Wroclaw, Poland, and the Kritische Theorie in Berlin Critical Theory Summer School (Progress, Regression, and Social Change) in Berlin, Germany, which she co-organized with Rahel Jaeggi.
Crary was a 1983-4 exchange student with Youth for Understanding in the southern German town of Achern. She was also a national champion rower at the Lakeside School (Seattle) in Seattle, Washington and placed 6th in the Junior Women's Eight at the 1985 World Rowing Junior Championships in Brandenburg, Germany. In the 1980s, after studying liberation theology with Harvey Cox at Harvard Divinity School, Crary researched Christian base communities in southern Mexico and Guatemala. In the early 1990s, she was a teacher at the Collegio Americano in Quito, Ecuador.
Books – monographs
Books – edited volumes