Byron Davies

Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

University City, Coyoacán, Mexico City

C.P. 04510



Harvard University, PhD in Philosophy, 2018

Reed College, BA in Philosophy, 2007


Academic Employment

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Philosophical Research (Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas), National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), March 2018-present (Research Supervisor: Carlos Pereda)


Areas of Specialization

Aesthetics, social philosophy and its history, ethics and moral psychology


Areas of Competence

Philosophy of language, philosophy and literature, philosophy and film



Title: Dependence on Persons and Dependence on Things in Rousseau’s Social, Psychological, and Aesthetic Theory

Committee: Richard Moran (chair), Matthew Boyle, Frederick Neuhouser

Short dissertation abstract: Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often associated with a certain political form of relating to another as a person, where a person is seen as a locus of enforceable demands. Nevertheless, as I argue in this dissertation, Rousseau also articulated an affective form of relating to another, where relating to another as a person in this sense involves seeing them as a locus of a kind of value that cannot be demanded. I consider the significance of this affective form for Rousseau’s understanding of the passion he calls amour-propre, as well for his understanding of domination and of the connection between the political and affective realms.


Academic Honors and Awards

Richard M. Martin Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard Philosophy Department, Fall 2014; 2015-16

Participant, SIAS Summer Institute on the Second Person. National Humanities Center, Aug. 7-19, 2011; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Aug. 5-17, 2012.

Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2012

Class of ’21 Award for exceptional creative work, Reed College, 2007 (Awarded to senior thesis)

Edwin N. Garlan Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarship in philosophy, Reed College, 2007

Phi Beta Kappa, 2007



“Individuality and Mortality in the Philosophy of Portrait-Painting: Simmel, Rousseau, and Melanie Klein.” Contrastes. Revista Internacional de Filosofía 23.3 (2018): 27-52.

“Remembering Stanley Cavell.” Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies 7 (2019): 65-68. Memorial notice for Stanley Cavell originally published on the Harvard Philosophy Department website.

Review of Toril Moi, Revolution of the Ordinary (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Modern Language Notes (MLN) 133.5 (2018): 1416-1419.

“Speech, the Affective, and the Insult in Not Being Believed: Rousseau and Adam Smith.” The Adam Smith Review, volume 11, edited by Fonna Forman (London: Routledge, 2019), 53-66. Part of a symposium on Rousseau and Smith.

“Espectadores, Gigantes e Infancia: Jean-Jacques Rousseau y Víctor Erice.” (Spanish translation, with additions, of “Spectators and Giants in Rousseau and Víctor Erice.”) Correspondencias. Cine y Pensamiento Issue 6, Summer 2018.

“Spectators and Giants in Rousseau and Víctor Erice.” Aesthetics for Birds. September 2016.

“An Autobiography of Companions.” Modern Language Notes 126.5 (2011): 972-78.


Selected Presentations

“Accidents Made Permanent: Theater and Automatism in Stanley Cavell and Michael Fried.”

*V Congreso Iberoamericano de Filosofía. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). June 20, 2019. (Delivered in Spanish)

*La pensée du cinéma/The Thought of Movies. International Colloquium. Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne. June 15, 2019.

“Cavell, Portraits, and Genres.” Memorial conference for Stanley Cavell. Department of Philosophy, Harvard University. November 10, 2018.

“The Affective and the Political: Rousseau and Contemporary Kantianism.” Seminario de Investigadores, Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). September 26, 2018.

Comments on Natalia Almada’s film El Velador (2011) and Amy Sara Carroll’s book REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era (University of Texas Press, 2017). Society for the Humanities, Cornell University. May 1, 2018. (Via Skype.)

“Affective and Political Conceptions of a Person.” Seminar on “Seeing Corruption in Mexico” taught by Laura Pérez León, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University. November 9, 2017. (Via Skype.)

Amour-Propre and Seeing Others as Persons.”

*Practical Philosophy Seminar, Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). May 25, 2018.

*POLETH Research Group in Political, Legal, and Ethical Theory. Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). March 29, 2017.

*Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy. August 31, 2016.

*Mahindra Humanities Center “Panaesthetics” Workshop, Harvard University. March 30, 2016.

“The Insult in Not Being Believed: Rousseau and Adam Smith.”

*Boston University Graduate Philosophy Conference. October 24, 2015.

*Conference on Themes from Smith and Rousseau. University of Glasgow. July 21, 2015.

*Between Ethics and Epistemology: Reflecting on the Work of Miranda Fricker. University of Massachusetts Boston. April 27, 2015.

Comments on Ginger Clausen, “Fitting Love.” 2015 Harvard-MIT Graduate Student Philosophy Conference. April 18, 2015.

“What Role Is There for the Concept of Authority in Thinking about Ordinary Language?” Workshop on French translation of Richard Moran’s Authority and Estrangement. Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne. January 18, 2014.

“Rousseau on Intersubjectivity.” Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. April 15, 2013.

“Appearances of the Self in Rousseau and Kierkegaard.”

*Annual Harvard Workshop in European Philosophy: The Discourse of Philosophy. December 7, 2012.

*Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. November, 27, 2012.

“Knowing What We Say.”

*Giving and Asking for Reasons: A Workshop with Robert Brandom. Universität Basel, Switzerland. May 5, 2012.

*Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. November 14, 2011.

*J.L. Austin Centenary Conference, Lancaster University, United Kingdom. April 6, 2011.

“The Importance of the Insult in Not Being Believed.” Harvard Philosophy Department Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology. April 16, 2012.

“An Autobiography of Companions.” Symposium on Stanley Cavell’s Little Did I Know, Johns Hopkins University Humanities Center. April 22, 2011.

“‘Ought’s Safe for Anscombe.” Fordham University Graduate Philosophy Conference on Aristotle in the 21st Century. March 5, 2010.


Teaching Experience


Seminars for master’s students specializing in aesthetics (sole instructor):

Points of View and the Self in Painting and Cinema, Spring 2019 (taught in Spanish)

Being Affected by Persons: Portraiture and Aesthetics, Fall 2018

At Harvard:

Philosophy Department Writing Fellow, Fall 2012-Spring 2013 (Writing instructor for undergraduates taking courses in the Philosophy Department)

    As sole instructor of tutorials for undergraduate majors:

Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, Spring 2015

Rousseau, Spring 2014

Philosophy of Film, Fall 2011

    As teaching assistant:

From Sinners to Sociopaths: The Many Faces of Evil (John Hamilton and Amélie Rorty), Harvard Summer School 2015

Philosophy and Literature: Proust (Richard Moran), Spring 2012

Self, Freedom, and Existence (Richard Moran), Fall 2011

Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy (Alison Simmons), Spring 2011

Introduction to the Problems of Philosophy (Bernhard Nickel), Fall 2010

    As grader:

Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein (Warren Goldfarb), Fall 2015

Aesthetics (Richard Moran), Spring 2014



Proofreader of Christine M. Korsgaard’s book manuscript, Fellow Creatures, 2017

Designer of publicity materials for “Varieties of Self-Knowledge” Workshop (organized by Matthew Boyle and Richard Moran), Harvard University, March 11-12, 2016

Graduate Representative to Harvard Philosophy Department Faculty, 2014-15

Organizer, Philosophy and Literature Reading Group (substituting for Richard Moran), 2014-15

Member, CNRS (Centre National de de la Recherche Scientifique) International Research Group, “Philosophie du language ordinaire et conceptions ordinaires en sciences sociales,” 2013-present

Student organizer (assisting Matthew Boyle and Richard Moran), “Self, Knowledge, Expression” Workshop, Harvard University, November 2, 2012

Co-organizer, 2010 Harvard-MIT Graduate Student Philosophy Conference

Contributing editor, OLP and Literary Studies (academic blog devoted to ordinary language philosophy, literature, and the arts), 2010-2017

Research Assistant for Professor Stanley Cavell, 2009-2018


Graduate Courses Taken

(All in Harvard Philosophy Department unless otherwise noted.)

First-Year Colloquium on Causation (Ned Hall and Alison Simmons)

First-Year Colloquium on Ethics (Douglas Lavin)

Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy (various faculty organizers)

Workshop in Metaphysics and Epistemology (various faculty organizers)

Aristotle on Justice (Gisela Striker)

Ethics and Action (Matthew Boyle and Douglas Lavin)

Topics in Intersubjectivity (Douglas Lavin and Richard Moran)

Deductive Logic (Peter Koellner)

The Rationalists (Jeffrey McDonough)

Kant and Hegel (Matthew Boyle)

Pragmatism (Peter Godfrey-Smith)

Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein (Warren Goldfarb)

Self-Knowledge and Self-Consciousness (Matthew Boyle)

Philosophy of Biology (Peter Godfrey-Smith)

Philosophy Translation Seminar: French (Richard Moran)

Painting, Smoking, Eating (Matt Saunders, Harvard Dept. of Visual and Environmental Studies)

Critical Media Practice (Matt Saunders, Harvard Dept. of Visual and Environmental Studies)


Graduate Courses Audited

(All in Harvard Philosophy Department unless otherwise noted.)

Philosophy of Action (Christine M. Korsgaard)

Kant’s Ethical Theory (Christine M. Korsgaard)

Hume’s Ethical Theory (Christine M. Korsgaard)

Equality and Liberty (T.M. Scanlon)

Topics in Ethics: Justice (Douglas Lavin)

Understanding Human Action (Jaegwon Kim, Brown University)

Speech and Intersubjectivity (Richard Moran)

Other Minds (Matthew Boyle and Richard Moran)

Aesthetics (Richard Moran)

On Beauty (Elaine Scarry, Harvard Dept. of English)


English (Native)

Spanish (Research and speaking)

French (Research and speaking)

Basic knowledge of German and Russian



Richard Moran

Brian D. Young Professor of Philosophy

Harvard University


Matthew Boyle

Professor of Philosophy

University of Chicago


Frederick Neuhouser

Viola Manderfeld Professor of German and Professor of Philosophy

Barnard College, Columbia University


Warren Goldfarb (Teaching Reference)

Walter Beverly Pearson Professor of Modern Mathematics and Mathematical Logic

Harvard University


Douglas Lavin

Reader in Philosophy

University College London