People

Avner Baz


Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Philosophy
Miner Hall, Room 120
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.2842
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Professor

Expertise
Ethics, Aesthetics, Epistemology, Kant, Wittgenstein, Ordinary Language Philosophy

Biography

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 philosophized all the time and thought that there was nothing for him to find in academia. When he finally decided to go to university, he started by studying physics and math, but was gradually drawn to philosophy—first through Kant, and then through the later Wittgenstein. In between finishing his MA in the Interdisciplinary Program for Fostering Excellence at Tel-Aviv University and doing his PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he started a construction business in Israel with his best friend; and though he was horrified to find that one could easily become consumed by thoughts about commerce, he still recommends manual labor alongside philosophy to his students.

Avner has done work in moral philosophy, aesthetics, epistemology, philosophy of perception, and philosophy of language, with a special focus on the question of philosophical method. He published two books—When Words are Called For (Harvard University Press, 2012), and The Crisis of Method in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2017)—that aim to dispel the widespread belief that the insights and procedures of ordinary language philosophy may safely be ignored by current practitioners in mainstream analytic philosophy. More recently, Avner has gone back to thinking about aspect perception, as understood from the perspective of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, and has published two books on that topic—The Significance of Aspect Perception (Springer, 2020), and Wittgenstein on Aspect Perception (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Even more recently, he has sought to apply the insights of ordinary language philosophy to current work in moral philosophy, and a paper of his on that subject, 'On the Moralization of Moral Theory', is forthcoming in Mind.


Selected Publications

Books

  1. Wittgenstein on Aspect Perception (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
  2. The Significance of Aspect Perception: Bringing the Phenomenal World into View (Springer, 2020).
  3. The Crisis of Method in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  4. When Words are Called For – In Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy (Harvard University Press, 2012).

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. 'On the Moralization of Moral Theory'. Mind (forthcoming).
  2. 'Motivational Indeterminacy'. European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2017): 336-357.
  3. 'The Sound of Bedrock: Lines of Grammar between Kant, Wittgenstein, and Cavell'. European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2016): 607-628.
  4. 'On Going (and Getting) Nowhere with our Words: New Skepticism about the Philosophical Method of Cases'. Philosophical Psychology 29 (2016): 64-83.
  5. 'Recent Attempts to Defend the Philosophical Method of Cases, and the Linguistic (Re)turn'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2016): 105-130.
  6. 'Whose Dream Is It Anyway?'. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (2014): 263-287.
  7. 'Must Philosophers Rely on Intuitions?'. Journal of Philosophy 109 (2012): 316-337.
  8. 'Geach's “Refutation” of Austin Revisited'. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2010): 41-62.
  9. 'Who Knows?'. European Journal of Philosophy 17 (2009): 201-223.
  10. 'Being Right, and Being in the Right'. Inquiry 51 (2008): 627-644.
  11. 'The Reaches of Words'. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2008): 31-56.
  12. 'Kant's Principle of Purposiveness, and the Missing Point of (Aesthetic) Judgments'. Kantian Review 10 (2005): 1-32.
  13. 'Moral Justification and the Idea of an Ethical Position'. Philosophy 80 (2005): 101-123.
  14. 'What's the Point of Calling Out Beauty?'. The British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2004): 57-72.
  15. 'On When Words are Called For—Cavell, McDowell, and the Wording of Our World'. Inquiry 46 (2003): 473-500.
  16. 'What's the Point of Seeing Aspects?'. Philosophical Investigations 23 (2000): 97-122.

Invited Articles

  1. 'Stanley Cavell's Argument of the Ordinary'. The Nordic Wittgenstein Review 7 (2018): 1-40.
  2. 'Contextualism and the Twilight of Representationalism'. In Contextualism and Ordinary Language Philosophy, David Zapero (ed.) (Routledge, 2019).
  3. 'Wittgenstein and the Difficulty of What Normally Goes Without Saying'. In The Form of Our Life with Words. Christian Martin (ed.). (de Gruyter, 2018).
  4. 'Bringing the Phenomenal World into View'. In Wittgenstein on Objectivity, Intuition, and Meaning. James Conant and Sebastian Greve (eds.). (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
  5. 'On Alice Crary's Inside Ethics'. In Syndicate, Timothy Furry and Ethan Smith (eds.), 2018.

  6. 'Phenomenology, Language, and the Limitations of the Wittgensteinian Grammatical Investigation'. In Wittgenstein and the Phenomenological Turn, Oskari Kuusela, Mihai Ometita and Timur Ųcan (eds.), (Routledge, 2018).
  7. 'Ordinary Language Philosophy'. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Herman Cappelen, Tamar Gendler, and John Hawthorne (eds.). (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  8. 'Aspects of Perception'. In Wollheim, Wittgenstein, and Pictorial Representation: Seeing-as and Seeing-in. Gary Kemp and Gabriele Mras (eds.), (Routledge, 2016).
  9. 'Questioning the Method of Cases Fundamentally—Reply to Deutsch'. Inquiry 58 (2015): 895-907.
  10. '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).
  11. 'Aspect Perception and Philosophical Difficulty'. In Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Marie McGinn and Oskari Kuusela (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011).
  12. '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).
  13. 'Wittgenstein on Seeing Aspects'. In Ludwig Wittgenstein: Key Concepts, Kelly Jolley (ed.), (Acumen, 2009).
  14. 'Ordinary Language Philosophy'. In Pragmatics Encyclopedia, Louise Cummins (ed.), (Routledge, 2009).

Reviews

  1. Review of Edouard Machery's Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds. Analysis (forthcoming).
  2. Review of Daniel Stoljar's Philosophical Progress. Mind 128 (2019): 1371-1380.
  3. Review of Wittgenstein And Perception, Michael Campbell and Michael O'Sullivan (eds.) (Routledge, 2015). Notre Dame Philosophical Review (2015).

Varia

  1. Mishla Asks for a New Dad (a children’s book in Hebrew) (Sifriyat Po’alim, 2005).

Courses Taught Regularly
Knowing and Being
Phenomenology and Existentialism
Wittgenstein/Ordinary Language Philosophy

Seminars
Philosophical Method
Aspect Perception
The Problem of "The World" in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy