Arnold Davidson

Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the Divinity School
On Leave AY 2017-2018
(773) 702-9849

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1981
M.A., Georgetown University, 1974

Special Interests

History of contemporary European philosophy and literature; history of moral and political philosophy; history of the human sciences; history and philosophy of religion.

Arnold I. Davidson is Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the Divinity School.  He is also a Director of the France-Chicago Center and Executive Editor of Critical Inquiry

His main area of research and teaching is the history of contemporary European thought.  He is interested in the interactions between philosophy and literature, especially from the point of view of moral and political philosophy, as well as in the role of literary genres in the history of philosophy and theology.  He has a special interest in improvisation as an aesthetic, ethical and political practice.  He has written about and taught courses on some of the major figures of twentieth-century French and Italian literature and has edited two collections of essays by and about Primo Levi, La vacanza morale del fascismo. Intorno a Primo Levi and Vivir para contar. Escribir tras Auschwitz.  He has published widely on contemporary French philosophy (Foucault, Hadot, Lévinas, Jankélévitch, Canguilhem, etc.), the history of sexuality, as well as on the relations between philosophy, religion, history and literature.

He has been a visiting professor at many French institutions (including the Collège de France, the École Normale Supérieure, the University of Paris I and the University of Paris VII) and has also been Professor of the History of Political Philosophy at the University of Pisa.  Beginning in 2013, each spring he will be Visiting Professor of the Philosophy of Cultures in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at the University Ca’Foscari of Venice.  His main publications are in French and Italian as well as in English.

See also his page on the Philosophy Department website for further information about his publications.