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Tamar Gendler

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Tamar Gendler

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Born (1965-12-20)December 20, 1965
Princeton, New Jersey
Residence New Haven, Connecticut
Fields Philosophy
Institutions Yale University, Cornell University, Syracuse University
Alma mater Harvard University, Yale University
Doctoral advisor Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit, Hilary Putnam

Tamar Szabó Gendler (born 1965) is the metaphysics and issues related to philosophical methodology.


Education and Employment

Gendler was born in 1965 in Princeton, New Jersey to Mary and Everett Gendler. She grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where she attended the Andover public schools and then Phillips Academy Andover.[1]

As an undergraduate, she studied at Yale University, where she was a championship debater in the American Parliamentary Debate Association and a member of Manuscript Society.[2] She graduated summa cum laude in 1987 with Distinction in Humanities and Math-&-Philosophy.

After graduating from college, she worked for several years as an assistant to Linda Darling-Hammond at the RAND Corporation’s education policy division in Washington, DC.[3]

In 1996, she earned her Philosophy PhD at Harvard University, with Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit and Hilary Putnam as her advisors.[4]

Gendler taught philosophy at Yale University (1996–97), Syracuse University (1997–2003) and Cornell University (2003–06), before returning to Yale in 2006 as professor of philosophy and Chair of the Yale University Cognitive Science Program (2006–2010).[5] On July 1, 2010, she became Chair of the Yale University Department of Philosophy, becoming the first woman to hold that position in the department’s history and the first female graduate of Yale College to chair a Yale Department. She held the position until 2013, when she was appointed as Deputy Provost for Humanities and Initiatives.

Gendler is married to Zoltan Gendler Szabo,[6] a philosopher and linguist who is also a professor at Yale University.[7] They have two children.

Honors and Professional Accomplishments

Gendler has held Fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship Program in the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies/Ryskamp Fellowship Program,[8] the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Program.[9] In 2012, she was appointed as the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy at Yale.[10] In 2013, she was awarded the Yale College-Sidonie Miskimin Clauss ’75 Prize for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities.[11]

She is the author of Thought Experiments: On the Powers and Limits of Imaginary Cases (Routledge, 2000) and Intuition, Imagination and Philosophical Methodology (Oxford, 2010), and editor or co-editor of The Elements of Philosophy (Oxford 2008), Perceptual Experience (Oxford, 2006), Conceivability and Possibility (Oxford 2002). She is also co-editor of the journal Oxford Studies in Epistemology.

Her philosophical articles have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Philosophy, Mind, Philosophical Perspectives, Mind & Language, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, and The Philosophical Quarterly. Her 2008 essay “Alief and Belief” was selected by the Philosopher’s Annual as one of the 10 best articles published in philosophy in 2008.[12]

She also lectures occasionally for non-professional audiences as a professor with One Day University[13] and as a diavlogger on[14]

She is best known for her work on thought experiments,[15] imagination – particularly on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance[16]—and for coining the term alief.[17]


  • Intuition, Imagination and Philosophical Methodology: Selected Papers. NY/Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • The Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past and Present. Co-edited with Susanna Siegel and Steven M. Cahn, NY: Oxford, 2008.
  • Perceptual Experience. Co-edited with an introduction by Tamar Szabó Gendler and John Hawthorne. NY/Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Conceivability and Possibility. Co-edited with an introduction by Tamar Szabó Gendler and John Hawthorne. NY/Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Thought Experiment: On the Powers and Limits of Imaginary Cases. NY: Routledge, 2000.


External links

  • Tamar Szabó Gendler’s personal homepage
  • Tamar Szabó Gendler’s Yale webpage
  • Lecture Slides from "Five Ancient Secrets to Modern Happiness"
  • Paul Bloom & Tamar Szabó Gendler, Percontations: Beliefs, Aliefs, and Daydreams (May 31, 2009)


  • Tamar Szabó Gendler’s Yale webpage
  • Tamar Szabó Gendler’s personal homepage
  • , "Professor goes back to school" (2009)
  • PhilPapers archive link to Gendler's professional papers
  • , "Cornell Loses Philosophy Profs" (2006)
  • Yale Daily News', "Philosophy Takes Steps to Rebuild" (2006)

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