Harvard Philosopher Stanley Cavell to be Visiting Scholar at Yale

Philosopher Stanley Cavell, the Walter M. Cabot Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, joins the Yale faculty this semester as the Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Social Thought. He will teach an undergraduate seminar titled “The Aesthetics of Film and Opera” and meet regularly with the Fellows of the Whitney Humanities Center.

Known for the originality of his scholarship and the elasticity of his interests, Cavell has written across a wide range of subjects. Among his major interests are the intersection of the analytic tradition in philosophy (especially the work of Austin and Wittgenstein) with representatives of the Continental tradition (for instance, Heidegger and Nietzsche); the philosophical importance of American thinkers (especially Emerson and Thoreau); literature (including Shakespeare) and film, notably Hollywood comedy and melodrama of the 1930s and 1940s. Among his recent books are “A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises,” “Philosophical Passages: Wittgenstein, Emerson, Austin, and Derrida” and “Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman.”

Cavell’s Luce Seminar at Yale will extend the discussion of cinema presented in his highly-acclaimed “Pursuits of Happiness,” and study five operas in conjunction with five related films. “The course should prove an exceptionally interesting addition to the Yale curriculum,” said Peter Brooks, director of the Whitney Humanities Center. “Stanley Cavell’s presence here promises to incite new and productive dialogues in philosophy, aesthetics, music, film and literary study. We are enormously pleased he will be with us.”

Stanley Cavell received his A.B. degree in music from the University of California (Berkeley) and his Ph.D degree in philosophy from Harvard. He is a recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and a past president of the American Philosophical Association.

Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325