About Me

Heidi M. Ravven is a Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Philosophy at Hamilton College, where she has taught since 1983. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy and the History of Ideas from Brandeis University in 1984. She has published on many aspects of Spinoza’s philosophy, focusing especially on Spinoza and Affective Neuroscience and on Spinoza and Maimonides. She has also published on Jewish Feminism and Jewish Ethics and on the philosophy of G.W. F. Hegel. She has been the Bates and Benjamin Chair of Classical and Religious Studies at Hamilton College and has held the Althea and Samuel Stroum Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

Ravven was the recipient in 2005 of an unsolicited grant from the Ford Foundation of a half a million dollars to write a book rethinking ethics. That book, The Self Beyond Itself: An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences, and the Myth of Free Will was published by The New Press in May, 2013 (Chinese edition, Renmin University Press: 2017). She is now most engaged in applying Spinoza’s philosophy to real world pressing problems. Her current research is a new book project, Science and Ceremony: Remaking American Civil Religion.

Ravven is an active member of the Atrocity Prevention Study Group, (Washington, DC), the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, the Public Philosophy Network, the Association for Jewish Studies, the American Political Science Association, the International Society of Political Psychology, and the Editorial Board, Journal of Systematics, Cybernetics, and Informatics. She has been a member of the Virtues of Attention Project (NYU, Jonardon Ganeri, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Brad Weslake, Directors), the Science and Ethics for Happiness and Well-being group (Jeffrey Sachs, Owen Flanagan, & Alejandro Adler, Directors, Columbia University), a Fellow in Neurophilosophy of the Integrative Neurosciences Research Program (Vilayanur Ramachandran and Kjell Fuxe, Co-Directors), a founding member of the Society for Empirical Ethics, the North American Spinoza Society, the American Philosophical Association, and the American Academy of Religion.