Eva Kittay

Eva Kittay

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Philosophy

Competition: US & Canada

SUNY Stony Brook

Eva Feder Kittay is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, SUNY, and a Senior Fellow of the Stony Brook Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics.

Her pioneering work interjecting questions of care and disability (especially cognitive disability) into philosophy, and her work in feminist theory have garnered a number of honors and prizes: 2003 Woman Philosopher of the Year by the Society for Women in Philosophy, the inaugural prize of the Institut de Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft, the Lebowitz prize from the American Philosophical Association and Phi Beta Kappa, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Discovery, and an NEH Fellowship.

In 1999, Kittay’s Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency received international attention and has been translated into Japanese and Italian.  The edited collection Women and Moral Theory ushered in decades-long work by philosophers in the ethics of care. Other edited collections include The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy, and Theoretical Perspectives on Dependency and Women.  A 2008 collection—based on a conference she organized, “Cognitive Disability and the Challenge to Moral Philosophy”—opened a new field of inquiry in philosophy.

Kittay received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her first works in philosophy were in the philosophy of language, publishing Metaphor: Its Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure (Clarendon Press, Oxford UP).

She has been deeply engaged in making the field of philosophy more inclusive and joining the discipline with issues of social justice.  She was Chair of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women, and helped found both the Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory, and the Women’s Committee of 100 (around issues of welfare and economic and social justice for women). She also helped found and chairs the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute, a program for undergraduates who are from groups underrepresented in philosophy.

She is the mother of two children, one of whom is severely cognitively disabled and who has served as the inspiration for the book that is the Guggenheim project, working title is “Disabled Minds and Things That Matter: Lessons for a Humbler Philosophy.”  Weaving together the theoretical and the personal, the book explores the many ways in which questions of cognitive disability demand a reconsideration of the ways we think about a good life, normalcy, justice, care, and the question of what it means to be human.


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