Kittay’s early work on metaphor is considered a major contribution to the literature. Her book, Metaphor: Its Linguistic Structure and Its Cognitive Force, is still in print and is read internationally by linguists, psychologists, literary scholars, and philosophers. Her subsequent work on care ethics and feminism is among the most sophisticated developments of this much-discussed line of thought. It is discussed not only in the English-speaking world, but also in Europe and in parts of Asia.
Kittay’s most singular contribution to date lies in creating an entire area of philosophical inquiry into disability, particularly cognitive disability. This was set forth in her book, Love’s Labor, and it has spurred an extensive debate that has been taken up by leading figures in the profession. This work has crossed disciplinary boundaries and is read in the contexts of bioethics, nursing schools, sociology, disability studies, philosophy, and women’s studies. Kittay’s contributions to care ethics and disability studies have been widely recognized. She received the first-ever award given by the Institut Mensch, Ethik, und Wissenschaft, a bioethics and policy institute that has strong influence within the German government.
“Stony Brook gave me the freedom and encouragement to map out new territory in my discipline,” said Kittay. “For this, I am most grateful to my department and to the many wonderful students and faculty who helped me hone my ideas. My work in care ethics and disability has been inspired by my daughter who has multiple and significant disabilities. It is she who made me question fundamental assumptions in philosophy and the culture at large about what it means to be human. I hope my writings will contribute to the acceptance of multiple ways of being in the world and to an understanding of the moral importance of caring for each other in our dependency.”
Appointment to the rank of Distinguished Professor is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the arts.
“The SUNY distinguished professors, of which there are more than 800, are nationally and internationally recognized scholars and scientists of the highest academic distinction,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Each of these faculty members has met or exceeded the rigorous requirements for this promotion.”