James F. Conant
James Ferguson Conant (born June 10, 1958) is an American philosopher who has written extensively on topics in philosophy of language, ethics, and metaphilosophy. He is perhaps best known for his writings on Wittgenstein, and his association with the New Wittgenstein school of Wittgenstein interpretation initiated by Cora Diamond. He is currently Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago.
Conant was born in Kyoto, Japan to American parents. At 14, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy. He received his A.B. in Philosophy and History of Science from Harvard College in 1982, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University in 1990. He joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Pittsburgh from 1991-1999, and then became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he continues to teach. Conant is the grandson of former Harvard University president James Bryant Conant.
Since the mid 1990’s Conant, together with Cora Diamond has advanced a “resolute reading” of Wittgenstein's early work which seeks to expose neglected underlying continuities between the philosopher's early and later approaches to philosophy, especially between his early Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and his later Philosophical Investigations. This resolute reading is meant to show that even in the Tractatus, the purpose of philosophy is the clarification of philosophical problems, aimed at the elucidation of the sentences of the language through which we express ourselves rather than at propounding philosophical theses. This reading subjects the traditional interpretations of Wittgenstein, particularly that of Peter Hacker and Gordon Baker, to severe criticism. Hacker, as well as others like Ian Proops and Michael Forster have in turn criticized Conant's representation of them.
Conant has also written on René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Gottlob Frege, Rudolf Carnap, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stanley Cavell, J.L. Austin, Thomas Kuhn, Richard Rorty, John McDowell, and Hilary Putnam.
In 2012 James Conant received the Humboldt Foundation Anneliese Maier Research Award, a five-year award to promote the internationalisation of the humanities and social sciences in Germany.
- Skepticism in Context (co-editor with Andrea Kern), Blackwell's, Oxford, UK (forthcoming)
- Thomas Kuhn: The Plurality of Worlds (co-editor), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL (forthcoming)
- Orwell ou le Pouvoir de la Verite (Agone, 2011)
- Rileggere Wittgenstein (co-author with Cora Diamond), with a Foreword by Piergiorgio Donatelli and an Afterword by Silver Bronzo, Carocci, Rome, 2010
- Pragmatism and Realism (co-editor), Routledge, London, 2002
- "The Method of the Tractatus", in From Frege to Wittgenstein: Perspectives on Early Analytic Philosophy, edited by Erich H. Reck, Oxford University Press, 2002
- Thomas Kuhn: The Road Since Structure (co-editor with John Haugeland), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 2000
- Hilary Putnam: Words and Life (editor), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994
- "The Search for Logically Alien Thought: Descartes, Kant, Frege and the Tractatus" in The Philosophy of Hilary Putnam, Philosophical Topics, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1991), pp. 115-180.
- Hilary Putnam: Realism with a Human Face (editor), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990
- Conant, James and Diamond, Cora "On reading the Tractatus Resolutely", in The Lasting Significance of Wittgenstein's Philosophy, edited by Max Kölbel and Bernhard Weiss, Routledge, 2004. 
- James Conant's Curriculum Vitae
- James Conant's webpage at The University of Chicago Department of Philosophy website