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Rebecca E. Harrison

Assistant Professor



Rebecca E. Harrison is an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at Binghamton University. Before this, she completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Michigan. She is originally from Australia.

Harrison has broad-ranging research and teaching interests in the philosophy of language; social and political philosophy; feminist philosophy; the philosophy of race, gender and sexuality; epistemology; and action theory.

Harrison's research investigates the many ways power and oppression shape our agency as language users. Much of her research examines how we perform speech acts —including promises, apologies, jokes, orders, threats and compliments. She is particularly interested in how we negotiate and disagree about what we do with words and how we should navigate questions of responsibility in situations where a speaker’s intentions and the impact of their speech come apart. The theory of speech acts she develops aims to illuminate the ways that the speech acts we perform are not wholly under our control —speakers can sometimes be made to perform unintended speech acts, both justly and unjustly — and builds on efforts to identify and counter forms of speech-based injustice.

Some key positions Harrison argues for include: 1) that speakers can unintentionally perform certain speech acts (like orders and threats) and be held accountable for these unintended acts, 2) that audience uptake can determine which speech act a speaker performs (in both just and unjust ways), and 3) that performing a speech act (like an apology) is a temporally extended process, like building a house or baking bread.

A second thread of her research is concerned with how power shapes our practices of knowing. She explores whether and under what conditions suspending judgment is an appropriate epistemic response to a sexual violence claim and examines how participating in social movements can generate moral learning.


  • Rebecca E. Harrison and Kai Tanter. Forthcoming. “Whose Uptake Matters? Sexual Refusal and the Ethics of Uptake.” The Philosophical Quarterly.


  • PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • MA, University of Melbourne
  • BA, Monash University

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of language
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Feminist philosophy
  • Philosophy of race, gender and sexuality
  • Social epistemology

Research Profile

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae