04a57ff2-f0eb-423f-8afb-e0feed9ec040 2.j
 

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In the fall of 2022, I will join the faculty of the Hebrew University Philosophy Department. 

"Imagine the Worst," an essay about anxiety, imagination, reality, and ambivalence is now out in the Boston Review issue on uncertainty.

I spent the first two weeks of September 2021 at the Center for Advanced Studies at LMU Munich with a research group led by Prof. Monika Betzler. On September 9 and 10, I participated in a conference organized by the group, on the end of relationships. The poster is below. Here's a pdf of my talk; it is about the resilience and vulnerability of relationships, and about the role of hope.  

 

 

A review I wrote for Mind of Philip Pettit's The Birth of Ethicshttps://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzab013

My essay about Israeli poet, Israel Pincas, is now online as part of the wonderful new project of Dibur Literary Journal, "Curated: Thinking with Literature."

On Anger, a Boston Review book to which I contributed an essay, was included in The New Yorker's list, The Best Books We've Read in 2020.

Recent and future talks

March 2022

Slippery Slope Normativity Summit. Lillehamer, Norway.

April 2022

Chapel Hill Normativity Workshop. UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

April 2022

Attitudinal Normativity Workshop. Geneva, Switzerland.

June 2022

Philosophy with Ethnographic Sensibility Workshop. Berlin, Germany.

July 2022

Ethics retreat. The Center for Moral and Political Philosophy at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

August 2022

Workshop on Morality, Emotions, and Scepticism. Hamburg, Germany.

September 2022

Conference on Rationality and Happiness. Southampton, UK.

March 2023

Workshop on the Reach of Responsibility: Will, Agency, and Reasons. Tel Aviv U and Hebrew U, Israel.

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Other News

My essay, "The Checkpoint", is among the must-read essays from the last decade at Boston Review.

"Who Shot Gil Naamati? Or: A History of Video Games," co-authored with Gil Naamati and Yanay Israeli, translated and edited by David Raphael Lockard, published in Adjacent, November 2018. (English)

My first book of fiction in Hebrew, Limbo, was published in October 2018 by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir.

A chapter from Limbo in the Short Story Project (Hebrew).

A chapter from Limbo in Alaxon (Hebrew).

Some radio interviews about the book (in Hebrew): in Galatz and Kan Tarbut

 

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Academic Writing

The overarching theme of my recent work is the rationality of emotional change. On the view I develop, the rational status of an emotional episode is partially determined by the process in which it is embedded. The view draws on insights found in works of fiction; it clarifies puzzles about regret, grief, and anger; it sheds new light on fitting-attitude accounts of value; and it has the potential to explain an important connection between narrative, value, and meaningfulness in life. 

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Academic Publications

What Is Evaluable for Fit?
Forthcoming in Fittingness, edited by Chris Howard and Richard Rowlands, Oxford University Press.

Our beliefs, intentions, desires, regrets, and fears are evaluable for fit—they can succeed or fail to be fitting responses to the objects they are about. Can our headaches and heartrates be evaluable for fit? The common view says ‘no’. I argue: sometimes, yes.

What Makes Something Surprising?
Co-authored with Dan Baras.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming). 

https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12820

We distinguish between descriptive and normative notions of what is surprising; clarify the sense in which surprising facts are unexpected; and, finally, develop and defend the significance account of surprise, according to which a fact is surprising to an agent if and to the extent that it is both unexpected and significant to the agent. 

The Birth of Ethics: Reconstructing the Role and Nature of Morality, by Philip Pettit, edited by Kinch Hoekstra. (Review) 

Mind (forthcoming). 

https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzab013

A review of Philip Pettit's recent book. 

Emotions and Process Rationality

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming). 

https://doi.org/10.1080/00048402.2020.1802764 

I employ Abelard Podgorski’s argument from rational delay to argue that many emotional norms are fundamentally concerned with emotional processes. I also claim that the main response available to the synchronist about belief is not available to the synchronist about emotions and, therefore, fundamental process norms are more plausible than epistemologists tend to believe. 

The Rationality of Emotional Change: Toward a Process View 
Noûs (forthcoming). https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12304

A widely held synchronic view of fitting affective attitudes denies that fittingness at a time depends on the agent’s attitudes at different times and therefore denies that the fittingness of an affective attitude can depend on its duration. Once we reject the synchronic view, we may see that affective attitudes are often fitting due to the fitting processes of which they are part. 

The Fitting Resolution of Anger 

Philosophical Studies 177, 2020, pp. 2417-2430. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-019-01317-w

How can we explain the rational diminution of backward-looking emotions (e.g., grief, regret, and anger) without resorting to pragmatic or wrong kind of reason explanations? That is to say, how can the diminution of these emotions not only be rational but fitting? In this paper, I offer an answer to this question by considering the case of anger. 

Can We Intend the Past? 

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12, No. 3, December 2017, pp. 304-311.

First, I criticize Jay Wallace's account of the affirmation dynamic, which entails a willingness to bring about past occurrences that were necessary for one's present attachments. Second, I trace Wallace's notion of regret to a common but misguided model of retrospection as a choice between courses of history.    

Reasons of Love: A Case Against Universalism About Practical Reason 

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society CX, No. 3, October 2015, pp. 315-322.

The paper presents an argument from love against universalism about practical reason. 

Social Justice 

In Israeli Social Protest: Political Lexicon 2011-, ed. Ariel Hendel (Hakibutz HaMe’uhad, 2013), pp. 309-319 (Hebrew).

The article reviews the liberal notion of social and distributive justice in the context of the Israeli social protest of 2011.

The Rise and Fall of the Bleeding Hearts: A Reading in Soldiers’ Talk and Breaking the Silence [two collections of Israeli soldiers’ testimonials]

Theory and Criticism 33, 2008, pp. 225-238 (Hebrew).

The article compares two collections of testimonies by Israeli soldiers, one compounded in 1968 and the other in 2005.

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Work in Progress

The Subtleties of Fit
Co-authored with Rachel Achs

We offer a series of apparent counterexamples to the idea that an object is fitting to love iff it is loveable, fitting to regret iff it is regrettable, fitting to blame iff blameworthy, etc. We argue that these bi-conditionals should be refined. Admirability merits admiration and regrettability merits regret, but these evaluative properties merit these responses only from some people, in some ways, at some times. 

Draft coming soon

Relationships: Their Vulnerability and Resilience

Drawing on the work of Karen Jones, I argue that the existence of a relationship at a time can depend on whether later events satisfy a relevant relationship-trajectory.

The Temporal Gaze of Emotions

Some emotions, like fear and hope, look forward to the future; others, like regret and anger, look backward to the past. What explains the temporal gaze of these emotions? I develop a theory according to which temporal relations between emotions and their objects play a fundamental role in determining emotional fit.

Suffering Punishment

Different theories of punishment offer different justifications of 'hard treatment', but they all assume that the suffering inflicted by hard treatment is independent of the justification offered for it. I argue that this is a mistake. The reasons for which hard treatment is inflicted on a person determine the suffering such treatment merits. 

Regret and Repair 

To see when regret and its dissipation might be fitting, I argue that we must look to the broader process in which regretting is embedded. I propose that regret is an essential stage in the process of what I call repair – a process that is itself fitting. 

A Distinction in Love

The paper examines three puzzles about the rationality of love: the puzzle of legitimate partiality, the puzzle of particularity, and the puzzle of love's necessity. I argue that, in one way or another, the three puzzles arise from a failure to distinguish and understand the relation between two kinds of love-related reasons: reasons to love and reasons of love.

Moral Presence Before the Law: The Case of the Group at the Fence

The paper considers whether the physical presence of refugees at the border bears on the obligations of the state to provide them shelter. I consider a specific case from 2012, in which a group of 21 Eritrean refugees were trapped for eight days in a no man's land between the Israeli and the Egyptian border. 

Loving, Valuing, Regretting, and Being Oneself: Prologue and Introduction

The prologue and introduction to my dissertation.

Aggressor Philip Guston

Aggressor. by Philip Guston, 1978

 

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Other Writing

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Essays in English

Imagine the Worst
In Boston Review, November 2021.

An essay that draws on Seneca and Cicero to understand anxiety, imagination, reality, and ambivalence

Who Shot Gil Naamati? Or, A History of Video Games
Co-authored with Yanay Israeli and Gil Naamati. Translated from Hebrew by David Raphael Lockard. 
In Adjacent, issue 4, November 2018.

In Philadelphia, in the year 2010, during a talk about the global anarchist movement, the lecturer mentioned Gil Naamati as a person who played a significant role in the history of the movement. This piece recounts Gil Naamati's story as he tells it. It also includes Gil's descriptions of his favorite video games. It was written in Hebrew in 2011 and was finally published, in English, thanks to David Raphael Lockard, in 2018.

The Frontiers of Vision and the Painting of Movement

In Eigengrau: Daniel Lergon, ed. Galerie Christian Lethert, Köln (Kerber 2017), pp. 142-147.

An essay about the work of Daniel Lergon, a contemporary painter. The essay considers how movement can be captured or created in a painting; it draws on Georg Simmel's book on Rembrandt.

Choosing Violence

Boston Review (July/August 2016), pp. 56-61.

An essay about conviction and moral isolation in times of war.

Political Faith

The Point (Winter 2016), pp. 137-145.

An essay about the possibility of political action in the face of wide-spread, entrenched injustice.

The Possibility of Self-Sacrifice

Boston Review (March/April 2014), pp. 45-53.

An essay about the nature of self-sacrifice, considered through the cases of Socrates, Yukio Mishima, and Emily Davison.

The essay is included in The Best American Essays list of Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014.

The Checkpoint

Boston Review (July/August 2012), pp. 38-45.

German translation in Zenith, November/December 2012, pp. 14-27; Italian translation in Internazionale, February 2013, pp. 96-101.

The essay describes the logic of military occupation, its moral depravity, and its self-destructive consequences. It was the most read article in BR in 2012.

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Essays in Hebrew (selected)

The Beginning of Love

Alaxon (April 2017)

An essay about the work of Yehoshua Kenaz, an Israeli novelist.

The Paradox of Sight and the Solution of Touch

The Beauty of the Defeated: Critical Essays on Yehoshua Kenaz, edited by Chen Strass and Keren Dotan (Am-Oved, 2017), pp. 150-168.

A reading of The Great Woman of the Dreams by Yehoshua Kenaz and his Hebrew translation of Traveler on All Saints' Day, by Georges Simenon.

Physiognomy

Alaxon (April 2016)

An essay about Montaigne's "Of Physiognomy". 

It Is Not Happening Now, It Is Happening Again

Alaxon (January 2015)

An essay about magic, puzzles, repetition, and change. Discusses Marcel Duchamp and Georges Perec.

Who Started?

The Hottest Place in Hell (June 2015)

Reflecting on violent events that took place in the summer of 2015 in the West Bank, this essay recounts events from the winter of 2002, when my platoon forcefully occupied the home of a Palestinian family and used it as our own.

That Which Is Not Seen

Alaxon (August 2013)

An essay about the presence of that which cannot be seen. Discusses Eedweard Muybridge.

The Unbelievable

Alaxon (June 2013)

An essay about faith and doubt. Discusses Caravaggio's "Doubting Thomas" and the Unicorn Tapestries at the Met Cloisters.

The Status Quo 

Alaxon (April 2013)

An essay about passion and the obstruction of order in New York City. 

Letting Out Steam -- 1949, 1974, 2003: On Motti Ashkenazi and Ways of Silencing Protest

Ha'aretz (December 2003)

An essay I wrote shortly after completing my conscript service, about the possibility of protest in Israel.

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Breaking the Silence (selected)

I am a long-time member of Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli veterans that collects testimonies of Israeli soldiers about the Occupied Territories. The purpose of Breaking the Silence is to expose the moral reality of Israel’s military occupation and to bring about its end. I joined the group shortly after it was founded, in 2004. Below you can find some of the articles I have written over the years as a member of the group as well as a book I co-edited, which analyzes ten years of soldiers’ testimonies. Some of my long-form essays and philosophical articles also deal with relevant issues. For more information, here is a link to the group’s website: http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

Book:

Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers’ Testimonies from the Occupied Territories 2000-2010 

Breaking the Silence, ed. Mikhael Manekin, Avichai Sharon, Yanay Israeli, Oded Na’aman, Levi Spectre (Metropolitan Press, September 2012) (also published in Hebrew, German, French, Dutch, and Swedish).

The Institution of War as a Way of Life 

Quartz (September 2015)

Plugging Our Ears Does Not Serve Israel 

The New York Jewish Week (April 2014)

J Street U Rejected for Standing Behind IDF Soldiers 

Daily Beast (October 2013)

It's Mostly Punishment  

HuffPost/TomDispatch.com (November 2012)

How Central Is Land for Peace? (co-authored with Mikhael Manekin)  

Foreign Affairs (November/December 2011)

Israel Needs the Truth About Cast Lead

The Guardian (July 2009)

Daniel Lergon painter

Untitled. Daniel Lergon, 2009

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Fiction

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Fiction in English

Journal of Absence: New York City February-June 2013

Bookieman Press 2013.

A collaboration with artist Nino Biniashvili. During a six-month stay in NYC, Nino and I set out to explore the city’s art scene. The book consists of nineteen micro-stories written on the basis of nineteen art visits, among which are: a visit to the Frick Collection exhibition of Piero della Francesca; studio visits in Bushwick and at the Brooklyn Army Terminal; a visit to Rebecca Chamberlain’s show at Dodge Gallery; a visit to Acconci Studio; and a visit to Printed Matter, Inc. (In total: 12 art shows, 4 artists’ studios, 1 art bookstore, 1 art dealer, and 1 print shop.) The nineteen micro-stories form nineteen entries in a journal of absence, where text takes the place of art.

This Is How It'll End

A very short story. 

Journal of Absence naaman

Journal of Absence. Photo by Nino Biniashvili.

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Fiction in Hebrew (selected)

Limbo

Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing, October 2018.

My first book of fiction (in Hebrew) includes two novellas, "Limbo" and "Venice".

In "Limbo," a man reconstructs a forgotten love affair from memories of art exhibits. He names his lover Annette Messager and himself Gerhard Richter. 

In "Venice," a man attempts to escape his life by making up a woman and traveling to Venice to meet her. 

limbo_front(1).jpg

Cover of Limbo

Not to Die of Love

Alaxon (February 2016)

The Visit

Alaxon (September 2013)

Hello, Readers, I'm On the Roof

Alaxon (July 2013)

Things on Vig Street

Ha'aretz (November 2009)

Toward Different Nights

Ha'aretz (October 2004)

Shorts

Ha'aretz (August 2003)

Jonas Bendiksen Russia

Russia. Altai Territory. Villagers collecting scraps from a crashed spacecraft, surrounded by thousands of white butterflies. By Jonas Bendiksen. 2000

 

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Teaching

What Is a Meaningful Life? (Taught in Hebrew)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Fall 2019

Primary Instructor 

On What Is Intolerable 

Stanford University, Spring 2018

Primary Instructor 

Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts Core Seminar

co-taught with Blakey Vermeule, Stanford University, Winter 2018

Primary Instructor 

Contemporary Moral Problems 

Stanford University, Spring 2017

Primary Instructor 

Contemporary Moral Problems 

Stanford University, Winter 2016

Primary Instructor 

Postdoctoral Adviser Undergraduate Honors Program in Ethics

Stanford University, 2015/2016

Advised seniors in college on writing their Honors Theses 

Responsibilities of Public Action 

Harvard Kennedy School for Government, Fall 2012

Teaching Fellow (Primary Instructor: Christopher Robichaud)

Equality and Liberty

Harvard College, Spring 2012

Teaching Fellow (Primary Instructor: T. M. Scanlon)

Self, Freedom, and Existence

Harvard College, Fall 2011

Teaching Fellow (Primary Instructor: Richard Moran)

Human Rights: A Philosophical Introduction 

Harvard College, Spring 2011

Teaching Fellow (Primary Instructor: Mathias Risse) 

Responsibilities of Public Action 

Harvard Kennedy School for Government, Fall 2010

Teaching Fellow (Primary Instructor: Christopher Robichaud)

August Sander Farmers

Young Farmers. By August Sander, 1914.

 

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Bio

I received a BA in Philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard University. After completing my studies in 2015, I spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University and a year as a Lecturer at the Stanford Philosophy Department in support of the Philosophy and Literature Initiative. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Oded Naaman w/t niece and nephew

With my niece and nephew.