Gregory Fried, PhD
Professor, PhilosophySend a Message
On leave AY 2018-2019
- PhD, University of Chicago
- MA, University of Chicago
- BA, Harvard College
- History of Philosophy, particularly Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Kant and Heidegger
- Social and Political Philosophy
- Race and American Thought
- Philosophy and Photography
Suffolk University, Professor
Suffolk University, Associate Professor
California State University, Los Angeles, Assistant Professor
Boston University, Lecturer and Assistant Professor
University of Chicago, Instructor
- With Charles Fried, Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror, (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010).
- Editor, with Richard Polt, A Companion to Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001).
- Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).
- “Heidegger and Gandhi: A Dialogue on Conflict and Enmity,” forthcoming in In The Wake of Conflict: Justice, Responsibility and Reconciliation, Allen Speight and Alice MacLachan eds. (Springer).
- “Critiques of Violence,” in The Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, second edition, ed. Lester Kurtz (San Diego: Academic Press, 2008).
- “Where’s the Point? Slavoj Žižek and the Broken Sword,” International Journal of Žižek Studies, vol. 1, no. 4 (2007).
- “Back to the Cave: A Platonic Rejoinder to Heidegger,” in Drew Hyland and John P. Manoussakis (eds.), Heidegger and the Greeks (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).
- “True Pictures: Frederick Douglass on Race in Early American Photography,” in Common-place 2 (January 2002)
- “On Heidegger’s Etymology and Grammar of the Verb ‘To Be’ in Introduction to Metaphysics,” in A Companion to Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics, ed. Richard Polt and Gregory Fried (Yale University Press: 2001).
- “Critiques of Violence,” in The Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, ed. Lester Kurtz (San Diego: Academic Press, 1999).
- “Inhalt Unzulässig: Late Mail from Lodz — A Meditation on Time and Truth,” in Postmodernism and the Holocaust, ed. Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998).
- Translator, with Richard Polt, of Martin Heidegger, Being and Truth (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2010)
- Translator, with Richard Polt, of Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics (Yale University Press, 2000).
- The Mirror of Race, online exhibition and writings.
Media and Journalism
- Interviews, with co-author Charles Fried, regarding Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror:
- Interview with Jeri Zeder, “Human Dignity, Democracy and the Loaded Gun,” Harvard Law Bulletin, Winter 2011.
- Interview with Robert Siegel, All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Sept. 10, 2010.
- Interview with Meghna Chakrabarti, Radio Boston, WBUR, Aug. 19, 2010.
- “What Liz Doesn’t Get About Lawyers,” with Charles Fried, The Daily Beast, Mar. 15, 2010.
For Our Students: Philosophical Profile
I was first drawn into philosophy by a need to examine my own thinking about pressing matters of the day: issues such as war, social strife, and international justice. The more I explored my questions and my own presuppositions, the more I came to realize that I could understand both only by studying the history of philosophy as well as ethics and political philosophy. We often do not realize how deeply this history determines both how we frame our questions and how we are likely to answer them.
At the broadest level, my own research revolves around questions concerning the strengths and weaknesses of liberalism — not liberalism in its narrow and merely contemporary sense as a particular political ideology, but liberalism in its classical and most expansive sense: as the exploration of the meaning, the promise and the hazards of human freedom. Classical liberalism therefore has its deepest roots in ancient philosophy, and it encompasses questions ranging from the freedom of the human mind to understand its world to the freedom of the human being to determine ethical and political principles without being bound by tradition. The modern liberal project, which had its most optimistic expression during the Enlightenment, has urged that human reason alone, without reference to either custom or revelation, might unearth the secrets of the cosmos and the foundations of a just moral order.
My published work has focused largely on critiques of this liberal project, both from the Right and the Left. In my book, Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics, I treat Martin Heidegger as a serious critic of the liberal project, one who argues that liberal universalism undermines all that is singular and precious about belonging to a particular community, in a particular place, at a particular time. For Heidegger, liberalism represented the most profound threat to human being, in all respects, from the looming dangers of technology to the ravages of homogenized culture and politics. I also explore the ways in which postmodernists such as Jacques Derrida stand in agreement with Heidegger’s critique. In my view, the distinction between “Right” and “Left” has become increasingly meaningless as a way to understand the problems facing us.
More recently, I have turned from a critique of liberalism to a defense. I call this defense “Reconstructive Liberalism” — in part as a response to the deconstruction unleashed by Heidegger and postmodernists, but also in recognition of the justice of many of the critiques of the liberal project. Whereas Heidegger held that the entire history of Western philosophy must be deconstructed in order to counter its inherent nihilism, I hold that this same history must be reconstructed to uncover and defend its salutary potential. For a prospectus of this project, please click this link.
And so this project of Reconstructive Liberalism ranges from a new reading of Plato to a confrontation with the contemporary problems that most challenge the liberal project. In the American context, for example, one of the greatest such challenges is the ongoing strife concerning race, and the contradiction that racism represents between the liberal ideals of the Founding and the injustices of past and present. My project called “The Mirror of Race” to address this challenge. More generally, I believe strongly that philosophy, in order to live, must not become merely academic: it must engage the issues of its day without becoming determined by them, and it must draw upon its knowledge of history to confront the present in a way that leaves open creative avenues to the future.