Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of Philosophy
Courses for Fall 2020: First Year Graduate Seminar
(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 Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, aesthetics (especially in connection with music), and the philosophy of biology. A collection of her articles on Kant’s Critique of Judgment has appeared as The Normativity of Nature: Essays on Kant’s Critique of Judgement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Recently published articles on contemporary issues include “Empiricism and Normative Constraint,” “Normativity and Concepts,” and “Leaps in the Dark: Epistemological Skepticism in Kripke’s Wittgenstein” (all published in 2018; see publications page for details).
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. The notion of primitive normativity is introduced in her 2011 paper, “Primitive Normativity and Skepticism About Rules,” and reappears in various forms in subsequent work, both on Kant’s theory of knowledge and on contemporary issues.