Esa Díaz León



I am a Ramón y Cajal Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona. Before this, I was an Assistant and then Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manitoba.

My areas of specialization are Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Philosophy of Gender, Race and Sexuality, and I also have interests in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Feminist Philosophy broadly conceived. You can find more about my publications and research plans here and here.

I am the Coordinator of the MA in Analytic Philosophy (starting in September 2017). More info here.


Contact: esadiazleon AT gmail DOT com


Background

I received a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield (UK) in 2007, a PostGrad Diploma in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield in 2002, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Murcia (Spain) in 2000. My PhD supervisors were Stephen Laurence, Rosanna Keefe, and Dominic Gregory.  My PhD thesis was on "Consciousness, Conceivability and Concepts". 

I joined the University of Manitoba as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in July 2008, and I was promoted to Associate Professor in March 2014. I was a Visitor at Logos - Research Group in Analytic Philosophy (University of Barcelona, Spain) during March-June 2008 and January-June 2012, and I became a Member in January 2014. I joined the University of Barcelona as a RyC Researcher in July 2014.


Selected Publications:

"Sexual Orientation as Interpretation? Sexual Desires, Concepts, and Choice", forthcoming in the Journal of Social Ontology. DOI: 10.1515/jso-2016-0028

"Feminist Philosophy of Language", with Jennifer Saul, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta.

"Feminist Metaphysics and Philosophy of Language", in Philosophy: Feminism. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, edited by Carol Hay, Macmillan Reference USA, pp. 251-71, 2017.

"Epistemic Contextualism and Conceptual Ethics", in The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism, edited by Jonathan Ichikawa, Routledge, pp. 71-80, 2017.

"Phenomenal Concepts: Neither Circular Nor Opaque", Philosophical Psychology 29(8), pp. 1186-99, 2016.

"Woman as a Politically Significant Term: A Solution to the Puzzle", Hypatia 31(2), pp. 245-58, 2016.

"Norms of Judgement, Naturalism, and Normativism about Content"Philosophical Explorations 19(1), pp. 48-58, 2016.

"What is Social Construction?", European Journal of Philosophy 23(4), pp. 1137-52, 2015.

"In Defence of Historical Constructivism about Races",  Ergo 2(21), pp. 547-62, 2015.

"Do A Posteriori Physicalists Get Our Phenomenal Concepts Wrong?", Ratio 27(1), pp. 1-16, 2014.

"Actors are not like Zombies"Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112(1), pp. 115-22, 2012.

"Are Ghosts Scarier than Zombies?", Consciousness and Cognition 21(2), pp. 747-8, 2012.

"Reductive Explanation, Concepts, and A Priori Entailment", Philosophical Studies 155 (1), pp. 99-116, 2011.

"Can Phenomenal Concepts Explain the Epistemic Gap?", Mind 119 (476), pp. 933-51, 2010.

"Defending the Phenomenal Concept Strategy", Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4), pp. 597-610, 2008.


Research:

The questions that first brought me to philosophy were mainly these: "What is the place of the mind in a natural world?" and "How do mind and language represent the world?". I am still pretty much interested in these, and other related issues. I have also developed an interest in issues having to do with gender, race and sexuality, and more in particular with the ways in which we think about those human kinds, and the ways in which our thinking about them helps to create and perpetuate them.

My research so far has focused on the following questions:

  1. What is the nature of consciousness? Is consciousness physical? Is physicalism true?
  2. What is the best theory of phenomenal concepts? Can we use this theory of phenomenal concepts in order to block anti-physicalist arguments?
  3. What is the role of conceptual analysis in philosophy, and especially in metaphysics?
  4. Is two-dimensional semantics any good?
  5. What is the meaning of ‘woman’? Can we make sense of the sex-gender distinction?
  6. What does it mean to say that a category is socially constructed? Are gender, race and sexual orientation socially constructed?

In my future research, I would also like to address the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between descriptive and ameliorative projects in philosophy?
  2. What is the semantics of slurs, and other pejorative terms such as slurring uses of generics? How can we explain their offensiveness? What is the nature of the corresponding signified properties?
  3. What are social kinds? How do they differ from natural kinds, and artefactual kinds?
  4. What is the nature of truth in fiction? Do moral and political considerations play a role in determining what is true in a work of fiction?

Public Philosophy:

Blog post on 'Sexual Orientation: The Desire View', Philosopher Blog, 27 January 2017. Available here: https://politicalphilosopher.net/2017/01/27/featured-philosopher-esa-diaz-leon/

Blog post on ‘Why Is Philosophy So Straight?’, Discrimination and Disadvantage Blog, 7 September 2015. Available here: http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/disability_and_disadvanta/2015/09/why-is-philosophy-so-straight.html

Contribution to the group post on ‘Philosophers on Rachel Dolezal’, Daily Nous, 15 June 2015. Available here: http://dailynous.com/2015/06/15/philosophers-on-rachel-dolezal/

Blog post on ‘Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?’, Philosoph-er Blog, 28 March 2014. Available here: http://politicalphilosopher.net/2014/03/28/featured-philosop-her-esa-diaz-leon/


News

I'm organizing a new talk series on the philosophy of gender, race and sexuality in Barcelona, known as GRSeminar. I also organised the third edition of the GRSelona conference, on Language and Politics, which took place on 22-23 June 2016.

I am a member of Diaphora-European Training Network, a research and training platform funded by the European Commission.

I have been awarded a Ramon y Cajal Research Fellowship, funded by the Spanish Government, and hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona and the LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy, starting in July 2014.