Harvey Lederman

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
AB Adviser
Phone: 
609 258-4290
Office Location: 
205 Marx Hall

I was an undergraduate at Princeton from 2004-2008, and I'm very excited to be back as a faculty member and a freshman adviser now at Whitman. I majored in Classics, but took many classes in other areas of the humanities, most of all in East Asian Studies, where I took a great deal of Chinese and Classical Chinese. My own freshman adviser, John Fleming, left an important impression on me, and continued to advise me throughout my time at Princeton, even after I had declared my major. I'm glad to have the chance now to pay forward the good advice and support he and so many others gave me when I was a student. (I was in Wilson; Whitman was still being built!) After Princeton, I was a graduate student at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, first in Classics and then (finally) in philosophy. After leaving the UK, I was a postdoc at NYU, and an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, before returning to Princeton in 2017. I teach classes in core analytic philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics and philosophical logic), as well as in the history of Chinese philosophy. My research is also split between these two areas. I work on what philosophers call "propositional attitudes", for instance, believing, knowing, hoping, fearing, and desiring. I am particularly interested in how the ways in which we talk about these attitudes do or don't reflect features of the attitudes themselves. I've also argued that the technical notion of "common knowledge" standardly employed throughout the social sciences is not something humans can achieve. In my historical research, I am working on a project about the Ming dynasty philosopher Wang Yangming (1472-1529), and in particular his views about the relationship between moral knowledge and virtuous action.