Jonathan Lear

University of Chicago
Philosopher; Educator
Humanities and Arts
Philosophy and Religious Studies


Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1996. Since 2014, he has also served as the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago. Earlier, he taught at Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Clare College, and at Yale University, where he was the Kingman Brewster Professor of the Humanities. In 2016 he held the Spinoza Chair in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Jonathan Lear has achieved distinction in several different areas of philosophy. He has published widely on different aspects of ancient philosophy making contributions to Aristotle's logic, philosophy of mathematics, ethics and psychology.  Several of his articles on Wittgenstein are regarded as seminal contributions. Beginning with his book, Love and its Place in Nature (1990), and then with Freud (2015) and Wisdom Won From Illness (2017) he has established himself as the most important interpreter and defender of the philosophical dimensions of psychoanalytic theory. His most important and best known work, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006), is a reflection on the fate of the Crow nation and the nature of radical normative change in cultural life.

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