Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Social Philosophy: Sally Haslanger, “Critical Social Theory: Combining Theory and Practice"
Sally Haslanger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Robin Celikates (Freie Universität Berlin), Elvira Basevich (University of California, Davis, Princeton University )

February 8, 2024, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
Department of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University

Alumni Hall Room 202
23rd Ave N, Nashville, TN 37212
Nashville 37212
United States


  • The New School for Social Research
  • Vanderbilt University

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The second recipient of the Prize in Social Philosophy is Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women & Gender Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The prize will be conferred on February 8, 2024, at 4:15 p.m. ET at Vanderbilt University, Alumni Hall 202.  Professor Haslanger will present a lecture, “Critical Social Theory: Combining Theory and Practice” which will be followed by comments by Robin Celikates (Free University Berlin) and Elvira Basevich (UC Davis). 

The landscape of critical social philosophy, both in North America and a broader global context, has been transformed in fundamental and liberating ways by Sally Haslanger's groundbreaking contributions. In awarding her the prize, the committee recognizes, among numerous other things, the work she has done to advance social philosophy as a discipline by showing that areas of philosophy traditionally conducted without regard to social or political issues—such as metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language—are both deeply implicated within and have the power to speak to issues of social justice. An incomplete but representative list of her contributions in this regard would include her articulation of new frameworks for understanding the concept of ideology and its critique; her elaboration of a materialist understanding of the nature of social practices and social structures; her clarification and defense of the notions of social and discursive construction, especially as they pertain to matters of race, gender, disability, and ideology; and her ongoing interrogation of the role that philosophy can play in shedding light on social struggles and promoting progressive social change. Haslanger has explored these themes in many publications over the years, most notably Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (2012); her Spinoza Lectures, published as Critical Theory and Practice (2017); and many other papers, monographs, and publications.

We would also like to honor Haslanger for her many contributions to the critique and improvement of philosophy as a professional discipline. The prize recognizes her role in founding and convening the Women and Philosophy Task Force, her work co-founding PIKSI Boston, and the many informal and less easily quantifiable ways she has devoted her time and energy to supporting new generations of critical social philosophers from diverse and marginalized backgrounds.

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