David Ferris

PhD Candidate

david [dot] ferris [at] emory [dot] edu


  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • American Pragmatism
  • Democratic Virtue


  • Philosophy of Law
  • Logic
  • Philosophy of Social Science
  • Ethics
  • History of Philosophy


Emory University

Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy (ABD)

Dissertation: “A Call to Humility as a Democratic Virtue” — Committee: John Lysaker, John Stuhr,  Noëlle McAfee (Michael Sullivan, deceased, former chair)

New York University

M.A., Humanities and Social Thought, 2013

Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program

Thesis: “Peirce and the Temporal Core of Pragmatism” — Advisor: Richard Bernstein (Professor of Philosophy, The New School for Social Research)

Harvard University

A.B., Social Studies, 2006 — High honors in field

Thesis: “Queer Legal Theory: Toward a Social Theory of Law and Sexuality in Contemporary American Society” — Advisor: Verity Smith


Emory University

  • Basic Problems of Philosophy, Fall 2019
    • “Ethics of Belief and Politics of Knowledge”
  • Intro to Philosophy of Law, Spring 2018
  • Intro to Philosophy of Social Science, Fall 2017
  • Introduction to Logic, Summer 2017 and Fall 2015
  • Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Spring 2016
  • 19th & 20th Century Philosophy (Co-Taught with Thomas Flynn), Spring 2015
  • Intro to Logic (Teaching Assistant for Donald Verene), Fall 2014

Arrendale State Prison

  • Instructor in Theological Studies program as an Emory Dean’s Teaching Fellow 2018-19, working with incarcerated women
  • Taught seminar on “Faith in Democracy” and aided with capstone project course for students pursuing a certificate

Agnes Scott College

  • Problems of Philosophy, Fall 2016 (Adjunct)

University of Maryland, College Park

  • American Political Economy (Teaching Assistant for Gar Alperovitz), Spring 2008 & Spring 2009


  • National Humanities Center Virtual Residency, January 2021

“Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public”

  • Summer Institute in American Philosophy, July 2017

Traditional Paper: “Recovery and Reconstruction of Humility in the Progressive Era: Lippmann, Addams, Du Bois”

  • Summer Institute in American Philosophy, July 2016

Dissertation-in-Progress Session, “Humility and the Democratic Ethos”

  • Telos Institute, “Religion And Politics In A Post-Secular World”, February 2013

Paper Presented, “Pragmatism as Democratic Political Theology”


  • Emory’s Dean Teaching Fellowship for Dissertation Completion and Teaching at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, GA
  • Hirschhorn Award Nominee 2013 — Outstanding masters thesis written for NYU’s Draper Program
  • Alexis De Tocqueville Prize 2006 — Recognizing best thesis written for the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard College
  • Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize 2006 — Recognizing outstanding quality of thesis as a work of undergraduate scholarship at Harvard College
  • James Gordon Bennett Prize 2006 — Recognizing best essay from Harvard College in English prose on some subject of American governmental, domestic, or foreign policy of contemporaneous interest
  • Harvard College Research Program 2004 — “Droit à la vie privée: Sexual Privacy in the French Legal System”
  • Harvard College Research Program 2003 — “Queer Jurisprudence: Sexuality and American Constitutional Law”
  • Helen Miller Clancy Scholarship, recurring 2001-present


  • Webmaster, Graduate Philosophy Society at Emory 2018-19
  • Graduate Faculty Representative, Department of Philosophy, Emory University 2017-18
  • Webmaster, Graduate Philosophy Society at Emory 2016-17
  • Graduate Faculty Representative, Department of Philosophy, Emory University 2015-16
  • Co-Treasurer, The Philosophy Forum, Emory University 2014-15
  • Constitution Committee, The Philosophy Forum, Emory University 2014-15


Co-Founder of 3B Bed & Breakfast, Brooklyn, NY, 2010 – 2013

  • Developed unique business model and equity scheme for cooperatively owned and run bed & breakfast
  • Renovated space, built kitchen, managed marketing and web site
  • Put theory of worker ownership to the test as a socialist entrepreneur qua hipster innkeeper

Research Associate, Washington, DC, 2007-2009

  • Full-time assistant for Gar Alperovitz, professor of political economy at the University of Maryland
  • Research-writing on community wealth building; trends in public opinion, wealth distribution, environment, health, energy; economic/intellectual history; contemporary politics


  • French, proficient
  • German, reading competence
  • Spanish, elementary study

Full Resume as of August 2023 (PDF)