Prof. James Ferguson Conant

Prof. James Ferguson Conant

Professor

Philosophie
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum
Beethovenstraße 15, Room 2106
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-35778
Fax: +49 341 97-35849

Abstract

James Conant assumed his Humboldt Professorship at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig on July 1, 2017. He has also been co-director of the FAGI (Forschungskolleg Analytic German Idealism) alongside Andrea Kern since 2012. Furthermore, he is the director of the Center for German Philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he is also Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and Chair.

Before moving to Chicago in 1999, he worked his way up the career ladder at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor to Chair. He completed his doctorate in 1990 at the renowned Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA. He has taught in France, Germany, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy and other countries.

James Conant teaches in all courses of study at the Institute of Philosophy, most recently mainly in the areas of epistemology and the history of philosophy.

Professional career

  • since 07/2017
    Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Universität Leipzig
  • since 07/2004
    Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, University of Chicago
  • 07/1999 - 06/2004
    Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago
  • 07/1998 - 06/1999
    Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
  • 07/1993 - 06/1998
    Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
  • 07/1992 - 06/1993
    Visiting Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan and Junior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows
  • 07/1991 - 06/1992
    Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
  • 07/1990 - 06/1991
    Visiting Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan and Junior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows

Education

  • 07/1973 - 05/1975
    Phillips Exeter Academy
  • 07/1975 - 06/1976
    Universität Göttingen, Germany
  • 07/1976 - 06/1982
    Harvard College (B.A. June, 1982):Dual Major, Philosophy & History of Science
  • 07/1982 - 06/1990
    Harvard University, Department of PhilosophyPh.D. Program (Ph.D. June, 1990)

James Conant has a broad scope in philosophy and has published articles on the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, German idealism and the history of analytical philosophy, as well as on a wide variety of philosophers including Kant, Emerson, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Josiah Royce, William James, Frege, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Putnam, Cavell, Rorty, and McDowell.

James Conant’s teaching activity alternates between courses with a primarily historical or exegetical focus (concentrating especially on figures from the German Idealist and Anglophone Analytic Traditions) and courses with a primarily systematic focus on some debate or issue in contemporary philosophy (especially in philosophical logic, epistemology, philosophy of language and aesthetics). He also teaches course that blend these foci together, simultaneously explicating ideas drawn from the history of philosophy while exploring their bearing on contemporary debates.

  • Kant's Transcendental Deduction and Its Contemporary Reception

    This seminar will be devoted to a close reading and discussion of certain portions of Kant's First Critique, focusing especially on the Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding. We will explore a handful of proposals for how to understand the project of the First Critique that turn especially on an interpretation the Transcendental Deduction, including especially those put forward by Henrich, Kern, Rödl, Sellars, Strawson, Stroud, and McDowell.

  • The Analytic Tradition: From Frege to Ryle

    This course will introduce students to the analytic tradition in philosophy. The aim of the course is to provide an overview of the first half of this tradition, starting from the publication of Frege's Begriffsschrift in 1879 and reaching up to the publication of Ryle's The Concept of Mind in 1949 and the posthumous publication of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations in 1953.

  • Conceptions of the Limits of Logic from Descartes to Wittgenstein

    In what sense, if any, do the laws of logic express necessary truths? The course will consider four fateful junctures in the history of philosophy at which this question received influential treatment.

  • Varieties of Philosophical Skepticism

    The aim of the course will be to consider some of the most influential treatments of skepticism in the post-war analytic philosophical tradition - in relation both to the broader history of philosophy and to current tendencies in contemporary analytic philosophy.

  • The Analytic Tradition

    This seminar will be a graduate survey course on the history of the first half of the analytic philosophical tradition. The course will aim to provide an overview of developments within this tradition, starting from the publication of Frege's Begriffsschrift in 1879 and reaching up to the publication of Ryle's The Concept of Mind in 1949 and the posthumous publication of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations in 1953.

  • John McDowell's "Mind and World"

    This course will be an overview and introduction of some of the main themes of the Philosophy of John McDowell, orientated around his book Mind and World. We will also read some of his writings on philosophy of perception and disjunctivism dating from before the book, as well as some of his later responses to critics of the book. The course will conclude with a brief glance at the subsequent development of his views, especially in philosophy of perception since Mind and World.

  • The Philosophy of Cora Diamond

    The first third of this course will focus on Cora Diamond’s contributions to the philosophy of logic and the history of analytic philosophy, the second third on her contributions to ethics, and the final third to her understanding of the connections as well as differences between philosophical logic and philosophical ethics.

  • The Philosophy of Stanley Cavell

    The aim of this first course will be to offer a careful reading of three quarters of Stanley Cavell’s major philosophical work, The Claim of Reason. The course will concentrate on Parts I, II, & IV of the book (with only very cursory discussion of Part III). We will look at other writings by Cavell insofar as they directly assist in an understanding of this central work of his.

  • Humboldt Colloquium

    The Humboldt Colloquium is a series of talks held by invited guest and faculty members. It is led by James Conant and takes place over the course of each Winter Semester. (It is complemented by the Humboldt Conversations In Philosophy Series during each Summer Semester.)

    Every Humboldt Colloquium begins with a talk by the invited speaker which is then followed by a discussion involving all of the Colloquium participants.

  • Humboldt Seminar

    The Humboldt Seminar is a work group in which the professors, post-doc fellows, visitors and students of the Humboldt Professorship discuss their work in progress.