Tatiana Patrone

Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religion
Phone: 607-274-7347
Office: Rothschild Place 146, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: History of philosophy (esp. Kant), political philosophy, bioethics

I was born and raised in Russia (it was the USSR then).  By the time I graduated from high school, we had a different political and economic system in place, and things were changing very rapidly.  I guess, I was part of the generation of Russians who literally lived through these changes – who went to middle and high school under communism and who no longer had to follow the same political (and to some extent – social) rules while at the university.  When I was a sophomore at Moscow State University, majoring in philosophy, together with my friends I saw the tanks fire at the Parliament Building (at the center of the city) in September-October 1993 – the university windows were facing downtown and we saw the explosions and the damage they did… 

Although communism was officially over, more than half of the curriculum at the University still was Marxist philosophy.  When not reading Marx and Lenin, we still had to think as Marxists: the goal was never to assess or critically to evaluate a philosophical position, but rather to understand its historical context, and the ‘basis’ on which it was founded (as part of the ‘superstructure’).  When I came to study at an American university (it was through a ‘study abroad’ program), I fell in love with the Anglophone tradition – from Bertrand Russell and Isaiah Berlin, to John Rawls and Bernard Williams.  To my relief, I was also good at doing philosophy analytically (and much better than I was at Marxist analysis)!

Today, I think I owe much to both traditions:   my areas of philosophical interest are essentially within the umbrella of history of philosophy, but I do history of philosophy with the hope of learning from it.  I work primarily on Kant, and within Kant – on his political and his ethical theory, together with (roughly) the second half of the Critique of Pure Reason.  When I study Kant, it is with a look historically ‘forward’ (toward the XIX-C philosophy) rather than ‘backward’ (to Early Modern thought).  Thus, my research and teaching usually extends to German Idealism, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Marx (read analytically!), and even as far as Existentialism and contemporary political thought.