Lecture at Stanford University

On February 20 I gave a lecture at Stanford University (which I neglected to put up on this website). But here’s the link. I also gave a seminar on February 21. And this gives me an opportunity to thank my gracious hosts at Stanford, Professors Joshua Landy and Lanier Anderson, for making these events so intellectually interesting.

Wittgenstein, Austin, Cavell at Litteraturhuset, Oslo

I will give a talk at Litteraturhuset in Oslo (in Norwegian) on Tuesday 15 May. The talk will begin by focusing on §1 in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. I will go on to discuss J. L. Austin’s footnote about shooting donkeys (in “A Plea for Excuses”), and then consider Cavell’s views on philosophy as self-revelation, and on the relationship between philosophy and literature. The idea is to convey some of the attractions of the vision of language of the “new Wittgenstein” or “ordinary language philosophy” for anyone interested in literature, or in the humanities more broadly.

Michael McCreary wins Duke’s Bascom Headen Palmer Prize for the best senior thesis on a literary subject

I am thrilled to announce that Michael McCreary, a philosophy major at Duke, has won Duke’s Bascom Headen Palmer Prize for the best senior thesis on a literary subject for 2012. Michael’s thesis, which I had the great pleasure and honor to direct, is entitled “‘They are Shut’: Confessing the Truth of Skepticism and Acknowledging the Possibility for Tragedy. A Reading of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations with Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground.‘” This is an exceptionally well written and thoughtful investigation of what Dostoevsky’s text can tell us about the attractions of skepticism, and of why the philosophy of Cavell, Wittgenstein, and Austin can help us to see this. I am proud to be associated with such excellent work. I believe this is the first time in recent memory that a Philosophy major wins this award at Duke.