Professor of Philosophy
Office: 303 Moses
Office hours: M 2:00-4:00
Phone: (510) 664-9077
Courses for Spring 2016: Modern Philosophy and Graduate Seminar: Rule-following and the normativity of meaning
(Ph.D., Harvard University, 1989). Ginsborg combines work in the history of philosophy, especially Kant, with an interest in contemporary philosophy, in particular the theory of meaning and the philosophy of mind. Much of her published work has focused on Kant’s Critique of Judgment, arguing for its importance both to Kant’s own theory of cognitive judgment and to our present-day understanding of cognition. Recently she has been applying what she takes to be the central insight of the Critique of Judgment to a range of contemporary issues, including rule-following skepticism, the normativity of meaning and content, the content of perceptual experience and the notion of function in biology. She has also been working on Kant’s theory of experience in the Critique of Pure Reason and on contemporary views about the relation between perceptual experience and belief. Other interests include aesthetics, especially in connection with music, and the philosophy of biology. A collection of her articles on Kant’s Critique of Judgment recently appeared as The Normativity of Nature: Essays on Kant’s Critique of Judgement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).
Ginsborg’s current research project seeks to articulate and develop the notion of “primitive normativity” – a notion drawn from her reading of Kant’s aesthetic theory – and to show how it can be used to address problems about rule-following, knowledge of language and grasp of concepts. In pursuing this project, she is returning to a long-standing interest, deriving from her time as an undergraduate at Oxford in the late 1970s, in the debate between Dummett and McDowell about how best to make sense of our knowledge of meaning.