Department of Philosophy
Miner Hall, Room 120
Medford, MA 02155
Ethics, Aesthetics, Epistemology, Kant, Wittgenstein, Ordinary Language Philosophy
Avner Baz was born and grew up in Israel, on a kibbutz, where for many years he was a cowboy. Being a true cowboy, he both philosophized all the time and thought that there was nothing for him to find in the academia. Later he started a construction business in Israel, and was horrified to find that one could easily spend a lifetime thinking about commerce. He finally decided to go to the university, where he started by studying physics and math, and was gradually drawn to philosophy—first through Kant, and later through the later Wittgenstein.
Avner has written about ethics and aesthetics, about aspect perception, about judgment, about Kant and Wittgenstein and Cavell and McDowell. Some of his work in recent years has been devoted to dispelling the widespread belief that the insights and procedures of ordinary language philosophy may safely be ignored by current practitioners in mainstream Analytic philosophy. Even more recently, Avner has gone back to thinking about aspect perception, as understood from the perspective of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology. In his most recent paper, he argues that since the perceived world is indeterminate—in the sense that it could always be perceived in different ways—and since we are motivated by that world, it follows that our motivation is itself indeterminate: contrary to what many in contemporary ethical theory and the philosophy of action presuppose, there is no unique true and full answer to the question why we did or said (of thought, or felt) this or that.
The Crisis of Method in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy – Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
When Words are Called For – In Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy – Harvard University Press (2012).
- 'Motivational Indeterminacy'. European Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming).
- 'The Sound of Bedrock: Lines of Grammar between Kant, Wittgenstein, and Cavell'. European Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming).
- 'On Going (and Getting) Nowhere with our Words: New Skepticism about the Philosophical Method of Cases'. Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming).
- 'Recent Attempts to Defend the Philosophical Method of Cases, and the Linguistic (Re)turn – Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming).
- 'Whose Dream Is It Anyway?'– International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (2014): 263-287.
- 'Must Philosophers Rely on Intuitions?' – Journal of Philosophy (Volume 109: 4, April 2012).
- 'Geach's "Refutation" of Austin Revisited'- Canadian Journal of Philosophy (Volume 40:1, March 2010).
- 'Who Knows?' – European Journal of Philosophy (Volume 17:2, April 2009).
- 'Being Right, and Being in the Right' – Inquiry (Volume 51:6, December 2008).
- 'The Reaches of Words' – International Journal of Philosophical Studies (Volume 16:1, January 2008).
- 'Kant's Principle of Purposiveness, and the Missing Point of (Aesthetic) Judgments' – Kantian Review (Volume 10:1, May 2005).
- 'Moral Justification and the Idea of an Ethical Position' – Philosophy (Volume 80: 311, January 2005).
- 'What's the Point of Calling Out Beauty?' – The British Journal of Aesthetics (Volume 44:1, January 2004).
- 'On When Words are Called For—Cavell, McDowell, and the Wording of Our World' – Inquiry (Volume 46:4, December 2003).
- 'What's the Point of Seeing Aspects?' – Philosophical Investigations (Volume 23:2, April 2000, pp. 97-122).
- 'Wittgenstein and the Difficulty of What Normally Goes Without Saying'. Forthcoming in The Form of Our Life with Words. Christian Martin (ed.). (de Gruyter).
- 'Aspect Perception and Pre-Objective Experience'. Forthcoming in Wittgenstein on Objectivity, Intuition, and Meaning. James Conant and Sebastian Greve (eds.). (Cambridge University Press).
- 'Phenomenology, Language, and the Limitations of the Wittgensteinian Grammatical Investigation'. Forthcoming in Wittgenstein and the Phenomenological Turn, Oskari Kuusela, Mihai Ometita and Timur Ųcan (eds.), (Routledge).
- 'Ordinary Language Philosophy'. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Herman Cappelen, Tamar Gendler, and John Hawthorne (eds.). (Oxford University Press).
- 'Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty on Language and philosophical Method' – forthcoming in Wittgenstein and the Phenomenological Turn, Oskari Kuusela, Mihai Ometita and Timur Ųcan (eds.), (Routledge).
- 'Aspects of Perception'– forthcoming in Wollheim, Wittgenstein, Seeing-as/in, and Art, Gary Kemp and Gabriele Mras (eds.), (Routledge).
- 'Knowing Knowing (that Such and Such)' – in New Essays on the Philosophy of J. L. Austin, Richard Sørly and Martin Gustafsson (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011).
- 'Seeing Aspects and Philosophical Difficulty' – in Handbook on the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Marie McGinn and Oskari Kuusela (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011).
- 'On Learning from Wittgenstein; or What Does it Take to See the Grammar of Seeing Aspects?' – in Seeing Wittgenstein Anew, William Day and Victor Krebs (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
- 'Wittgenstein on Seeing Aspects' – in Ludwig Wittgenstein: Key Concepts, Kelly Jolley (ed.), (Acumen, 2009).
- 'Ordinary Language Philosophy' – in Pragmatics Encyclopedia, Louise Cummins (ed.), (Routledge, 2009).
- Review of Michael Campbell and Michael O'Sullivan (eds.), Wittgenstein And Perception (Routledge, 2015) – Notre Dame Philosophical Review, August 2015.
Mishla Asks for a New Dad (a children's book) -- (Sifriyat Po'alim, Israel, July 2005).
Work in Progress
'The Crisis of Method in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy' – Book Manuscript, in progress.
'Ethics and the Indeterminacy of Motivation' – in progress.
Courses Taught Regularly
Kant's /Critique of Pure Reason,
Introduction to Modern Philosophy
Emerson and Thoreau
Contextualism and Skepticism
Ordinary Language Philosophy
Stanley Cavell and the Philosophy of the Ordinary