Sean Kelly earned an Sc.B. with Honors in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.S. in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from Brown University in 1989. After several years as a graduate student in Logic and Methodology of Science, he finally received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. He taught in Philosophy and the Humanities at Stanford and in Philosophy and Neuroscience at Princeton before joining the Harvard Faculty in 2006. Prof. Kelly received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, and has received various fellowships or grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation, among others. An Affiliated Faculty member in Germanic Languages and Literatures, he is Professor of Philosophy and has served as Chair of the Department of Philosophy since 2009. From 2009-2012 he was Co-Chair of the Standing Committee on Mind, Brain, and Behavior.
Prof. Kelly’s work focuses on various aspects of the philosophical, phenomenological, and cognitive neuroscientific nature of human experience. This gives him a broad forum: recent work has addressed, for example, the experience of time, the possibility of demonstrating that monkeys have blindsighted experience, and the understanding of the sacred in Homer. He is a well-known specialist in the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. At Princeton and Harvard, Kelly has taught courses on 20th century French and German Philosophy, Existentialism, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Perception, Imagination and Memory, Aesthetics, and Philosophy of Literature. He is the co-author, with Hubert L. Dreyfus, of the New York Times best-selling book All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age.