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ABOUT ME

Even other academics characterize me as reading a lot. And that's not wrong; I do dwell amidst text. But I also like carpentry – it's nice when a day's work leaves behind new tangible structures. I like to climb rocks and trees, run, hike, go for multi-hour trail adventures, and play basketball and Ultimate Frisbee.

 

In my reading, writing, and teaching, I approach systematic problems via the history of philosophy. Specifically, I work on ancient philosophy (mostly Greek, but also Egyptian and Chinese) and Continental philosophy (mostly German) of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the latter, I focus on the ways phenomenology and psychoanalysis both complement and fight each other, with help from Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. For particular topic areas, see below.

EDUCATION

RESEARCH TOPICS

Aspects of (Re)conciliation

Aside from Hegel, philosophical work on conciliation and reconciliation focuses entirely on moral, political, and legal questions. But to the extent that such renewal is possible, there must be something like transcendental conditions of that possibility. Over the long term, I want to work out these aspects of the world and of human existence.

Current project: to begin by making sense of the phenomena of trust and betrayal.

2008 - 2014

Boston College

Ph.D., Philosophy

The Nature and Importance of Truth

What is the nature of our receptivity to being? Why do we care so much about the way things really are – yet in such conflicted ways? How can we both avoid the trap of relativism and recognize personal, cultural, and historical situatedness?

Current project: to attend to pre-judicative modes of receptivity, especially affective dispositions (like interpersonal trust) and epistemic virtues (like Socratic piety).

Health and Illness

Health is somehow essential and normative, but it's quite difficult to say in what ways, especially in the realm of mental illness. The DSM-V infamously makes just about everything an illness, and Westerners look to medication to fix everything while fearing its addictive power. Pain signals that something is wrong, but also signals life where there was none before. Questions about health's essence and in what way it is essential for living beings swiftly lead to problems about how to understand essences more broadly.

Current project: to articulate the unity of human meaning that is discoverable in a wide variety of psychotic suffering.

2006 - 2008

Boston College

M.A., Philosophy

2002 - 2006

Yale University

B.A., Philosophy

Access to Ancient Philosophy

Phenomenology offers a non-naive way for contemporary thought to return to the puzzles and proposals of ancient philosophy. Psychoanalysis takes up once again the study of the soul. Together, these modes of thinking open up ancient texts (Greek, Egyptian, and Chinese) in new and fruitful ways.

Current project: to figure out what theoria (contemplation) means for Aristotle and for us.

POSITIONS

Erikson Scholar-in-Residence (Fall 2019)

Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

Visiting Scholar (2018-2020)

Philosophy Dept., Loyola Marymount University

Bellarmine Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2018)

Philosophy Dept., Loyola Marymount University

Summer Seminar Fellow (2014)

National Endowment for the Humanities

(Host: Gonzaga University

Topic: Medieval Political Philosophy)

Teaching Fellow (2007-2012)

Philosophy Dept., Boston College

LANGUAGES

German

Advanced (reading/speaking/writing)

Spanish

High Intermediate (reading/writing)

Intermediate (speaking)

Ancient Greek

Advanced (reading)

Latin

Intermediate (reading)

French

Elementary (reading)

Chinese (Mandarin)

Beginner (reading/writing/speaking)

© 2019 by Will Britt. Proudly created with Wix.com

 

Portraits by Mark Swirsky (markswirskyphoto.com)

Header image courtesy of Wix.

Except as otherwise labeled, all other photos are my own.