Béatrice M. Longuenesse
John P. Birkelund Fellow - Class of Fall 2012, Class of Spring 2013
Silver Professor of Philosophy, New York University
Béatrice Longuenesse is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University. She received her education at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and at Princeton University. Longuenesse was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin in 2006 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. She is the author of Kant and the Capacity to Judge (Princeton University Press, 1998), an expanded English version of Kant et le Pouvoir de Juger (Presses Universitaires de France ,1993); Kant on the Human Standpoint (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Hegel’s Critique of Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press, 2007), an expanded English translation of Hegel et la Critique de la Métaphysique (Vrin, 1981). She co-edited, with Daniel Garber, Kant and the Early Moderns (Princeton University Press, 2008) and has written over fifty articles on issues in the history of modern European philosophy. Her current research focuses on notions of self-consciousness and self-reference, drawing on both the recent continental and the analytic traditions in philosophy.
American Academy Project
I, Me, Mine. Back to Kant, and Back Again
At the American Academy in Berlin, Longuenesse will be working on her next book project entitled, I, Me, Mine. Back to Kant, and Back Again, under contract with Oxford University Press, an investigation of self-consciousness in connection with our use of the first person pronoun “I.” Beginning with contemporary discussions of our uses of “I,” she will proceed back in time to Immanuel Kant’s account of the thought “I think,” and return to contemporary discussions via Freud’s analysis of the organization of mental processes Freud calls “ego” and “superego.” The working hypothesis of the project is that self-consciousness and our uses of “I” rest on two quite different kinds of self-consciousness: consciousness of oneself as an embodied entity and consciousness of oneself as the agent of one’s own mental unity.
Béatrice Longuenesse's October 23 lecture dove headlong into some aspects of self-consciousness and self-reference. When we use the pronoun "I," she notes, we are using a word that does not just refer to ourselves -- because all English-speaking people use that same word to their own selves. Our given name refers others to what we should be called (after all, they don't call us "I"), and the word "I" itself refers to our own self from, as it were, the inside. »