I am the Ford Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, and an affiliate in the MIT Women's and Gender Studies Program. You can find my current CV here. I normally use she/her pronouns, but am also happy with they/them.
My philosophical interests are broad. I began my philosophical life specializing in analytic metaphysics and epistemology, and in ancient philosophy (especially Aristotle). Over time I have been able to develop my interests in social and political philosophy, feminist theory and critical race theory. I have published on the problem of persistence through change, pragmatic paradox, and Aristotle's hylomorphic theory of substance.
In feminist theory I have written on objectivity and objectification, and Catharine MacKinnon's theory of gender. For many years I was devoted to making metaphysical sense of the notion of social construction. My book Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (Oxford 2012), collects papers published over the course of twenty years that link work in contemporary metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language with social and political issues concerning gender, race, and the family. It was awarded the 2014 Joseph B. Gittler Prize for "outstanding scholarly contribution in the field of the philosophy of one or more of the social sciences."
More recently I have been working on social practices, social structure, structural explanation, and topics in feminist epistemology. In my current work I develop an account of ideology that illuminates the role of culture in shaping social subjects, and I provide an account of social practices and social structures that calls attention to their materiality. In 2018 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to put all this together into a book Doing Justice to the Social, now under contract with Oxford University Press.
I regularly teach courses in social/political philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, and history of philosophy. In 2019, I began to co-teach Gender and Development with Libby McDonald in MIT's D-Lab. The D-Lab methodology is based on participatory design and creative capacity building. Students partner with organizations in vulnerable communities to exchange knowledge and design interventions that alleviate poverty, contribute to well-being, and promote social justice. You can read more about one of the Fall 2019 projects to design reusable sanitary pads with the Society Empowerment Project in Kenya. Our Fall 2020 course received the Teaching with Digital Technology Award for our efforts to shift the co-design process to virtual space. The D-Lab academic team was also awarded a 2021 Infinite Mile Award for innovation and creativity during the pandemic.
I have also worked with others since 2014 to develop a summer institute for undergraduates who are members of underrepresented groups in philosophy, PIKSI-Boston ('PIKSI' stands for philosophy in an inclusive key summer institute. The original PIKSI was started at Penn State.) We were funded by the APA through a Mellon Grant from 2015-2021. We are now moving to a consortium model of funding, drawing on universities and colleges in the New England area. You can donate directly to PIKSI-Boston here.
For further information about my research, teaching, awards, and other activities please see my CV, or the pages linked on the menu bar above. You can also get a sense of the kind of work I do by reading an interview prepared for the MIT SHASS website.
I am married to another philosopher, Stephen Yablo, and we have two children and two dogs: Sparky (now almost 16 years old!) and Daisy (actually, Daisy is Isaac's dog - and now she lives with him but loves to stay with us!).
Photocredit: Jon Sachs | MIT SHASS Communications
Last updated: 24 December 2021