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Keith Ansell-Pearson


I joined the Philosophy Department at Warwick in 1993 and have held a Personal Chair since 1998. I previously taught at the University of Malawi in southern Africa and Queen Mary College of the University of London. I did my graduate work at the University of Sussex. Since my graduation I have published widely and with a concentration on the work of figures such as Bergson, Deleuze, and Nietzsche. I have presented lectures around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the USA. In 2013/14 I have been a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. I serve on the editorial boards of, amongst others, Cosmos and History, Deleuze Studies, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Nietzsche-Studien.


My research focuses on modern European philosophy and I have written on both seminal and neglected figures, such as Nietzsche, Jean-Marie Guyau, Bergson, Deleuze, and Foucault. My current research is centred on a study of the ethics of Nietzsche and Guyau (1854-88). In recent years I have pioneered the study and critical appreciation of Guyau and I have closely studied Nietzsche’s personal annotated copy of Guyau’s major work on ethics, A Sketch of Morality without Obligation or Sanction (1885). I have spoken on Nietzsche and Guyau at international conferences and my work has served to awaken interest in the work of this neglected philosophical figure who was known in his time as 'the Spinoza of France'. I have recently written the entry on "Jean-Marie Guyau", in Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). The research I am doing builds on the following recent publications: "Contra Kant: Naturalism and Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in T. Bailey & J. Constancio, Nietzsche and Kantian Ethics (Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming 2017); "Beyond Selfishness: Epicurean Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in R. Bamford (ed.), Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Free Spirit (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2015), pp. 49-69; "Morality and the Philosophy of Life in Guyau and Bergson", Continental Philosophy Review, 47: 1, 2014, pp. 59-85; "Beyond Obligation? Jean-Marie Guyau on Life and Ethics", in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, Volume 77, October 2015, pp 207-225.

I am also working with colleagues in Australia (Michael Ure at Monash and Matthew Sharpe at Deakin) on a three-year long 'Discovery Project' on the Re-invention of Philosophy as a Way of Life and funded by the Australian Research Council. Many ancient philosophical schools thought the goal of philosophy was to enable individuals to achieve happiness or flourishing. This research examines modern reinventions of this ancient philosophical ideal. It asks whether these reinventions give us sound reasons for believing that contemporary philosophy can and ought to facilitate well-being, and it acknowledges the need to undertake a fresh inquiry into what well-being means for us today. The research has resulted in a book series with Bloomsbury Press that will feature a number of publications, including translations of neglected texts in post-Kantian European philosophy, scholarly monographs, and a Companion volume.

I am researching the following new books.

  • Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy. Nietzsche often says in his writings that Schopenhauer lacked development and history – he has a single conception of life and perception of the world from first to last. The same cannot be said of Nietzsche whose thinking undergoes an extraordinary and striking development in the course of just two decades of writing and thinking. This book traces some of the most important moments in this development as they centre on what I am calling his search for philosophy, including his conceptions of heroic-idyllic philosophizing, the sublimities of philosophy, and the joyful science; his emphasis on philosophical legislation; and his analysis of philosophy's relation to the ascetic ideal.
  • Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols. This study forms part of the new series ‘The Edinburgh Guides to Nietzsche’ that I am co-editing with Daniel W. Conway. Twilight offers an ideal introduction to the concerns of the late Nietzsche. In it Nietzsche cultivates the art of the aphorism and philosophizes with a hammer; the book features his core thinking on the nature of philosophy and on morality, including his preoccupation with the phenomenon of decadence, as well as containing some of his most enigmatic doctrines, such as the doctrine of the self as a piece of fate. My study will explore these aspects of the work in order to illuminate one of Nietzsche’s finest and wittiest intellectual exercises.

  • Ethics and Life in Nietzsche and Guyau. Although the novel and challenging character of Nietzsche’s approach to questions concerning morality has been well-attended to in the literature my hope is that by bringing Guyau’s ideas on morality to the attention of readers, and showing how aspects of them resonate strongly with Nietzsche, new light can be shed on the wider intellectual context in which Nietzsche advances his project of critique and revaluation. A neglected figure today, Guyau was read as making an important contribution to ethics in his own day by the diverse likes of Nietzsche, Kropotkin, William James and Josiah Royce. Nietzsche’s attitude towards Guyau is ambivalent. On the one hand he calls him ‘brave Guyau’, and regards him as a courageous thinker who has written one of the few genuinely interesting books on ethics of modern times. On the other hand he thinks Guyau is caught up in the Christian-moral ideal, and partly for this reason he is only a free thinker and not a genuine free spirit. In this study my focus will be on exploring the nature of their respective engagements with 'morality' and bringing the two into rapport on questions of 'Life'.


Keith Ansell-Pearson interviewed by Joe Gelonesi, The Philosopher’s Zone, ABC 2015

An Interview with the BBC on Nietzsche, July 1999

A Lecture on the Ethics of Self-Cultivation, University of Warwick, September 2014

An interview with Simon Critchley about his book, 'Bowie': Bowie: Everything and Nothing

Keith Ansell-Pearson and Michael Holroyd discuss Shaw’s ‘Man and Superman’ at the National Theatre, 2015.

“Philosophy as a form of Non- Religious Grace”: Keith Ansell-Pearson interviewed by Dr Andrius Bielskis, 2015.

Read the interview here

Selected Book Publications

Selected Recent and Forthcoming Essay Publications

  • "Bergson's Encounter with Biology: Thinking Life", Angelaki, 10: 2, 2005, pp. 59-72.
  • "Beyond the Human Condition: An Introduction to Deleuze's Lecture Course", Substance, 36: 3, 2007, pp. 1-15.
  • "Bergson on Memory"& "Deleuze on the Overcoming of Memory", both in S. Radstone & B. Schwarz (eds.), Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates, Fordham University Press (2010), pp. 61-77 & pp. 161-79.
  • "Bergson", in Dean Moyar (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy (Routledge, 2010), pp. 403-33.
  • "Responses to Evolution: Spencer's Evolutionism, Bergsonism, and Contemporary Biology" (with Paul-Antoine Miquel & Michael Vaughan), The History of Continental Philosophy, volume three (Acumen/University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp. 347-79.
  • "Morality and the Philosophy of Life in Guyau and Bergson", Continental Philosophy Review, 47: 1, 2014, pp. 59-85.
  • "Bergson and Ethics", in Hugh LaFollette, The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp. 513-520.
  • "Bergson and Politics", The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming, 2014).
  • "A Melancholy Science? On Bergson's Appreciation of Lucretius", Pli, 27 (2015), pp. 83-101.
  • "Bergson, Education, and the Art of Life", in A. J. Bartlett, Justin Clemens, Jessica Whyte (eds.), What is Education?, (forthcoming 2016)
  • "Bergson's Reformation of Philosophy in Creative Evolution, forthcoming in Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, (2016).
  • "Contra Kant and Beyond Nietzsche: Naturalizing Ethics in the Work of Jean-Marie Guyau", The Hegel Bulletin (Cambridge University Press), 35:2, 2014, pp. 185-203.
  • "Jean-Marie Guyau", in Hugh LaFollette, The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, forthcoming).
  • "Beyond Obligation? Jean-Marie Guyau on Life and Ethics", in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, Volume 77, October 2015, pp 207-225.
  • "Naturalism in the Continental Tradition" (with John Protevi), forthcoming in Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).
  • "Beyond the Human Condition: Bergson and Deleuze", in Jon Roffe (ed.), Deleuze and the Non/Human (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, 2015), pp. 81-102.
  • "Affirmative Naturalism: Deleuze and Epicureanism", Cosmos and History,10: 2, 2014, pp. 121-137.
  • "Deleuze and New Materialism: Naturalism, Normativity, and Ethics", in Sarah Ellenzweig and John Zammito (eds.), Engaging with New Materialism (forthcoming 2017).
  • "Deleuze's Posthuman Bergsonism", in Christine Daigle (ed.), Posthumanism through Deleuze (forthcoming 2017).
  • "'Holding on to the Sublime': On Nietzsche's Early 'Unfashionable' Project", in K. Gemes & J. Richardson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to Nietzsche (Oxford UP, 2013), pp. 226-51.
  • "Heroic-Idyllic Philosophizing: Nietzsche and the Epicurean Tradition", in A. O' Hear (ed.), Philosophical Traditions (Cambridge University Press, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 74, 2014), pp. 237-263.
  • 'Afterword', Friedrich Nietzsche, Dawn: On the Presumptions of Morality, trans. Brittain Smith (Stanford University Press, 'Collected Works', volume 5, 2011), pp. 363-409.
  • "The Philosophy of the Morning: Philosophy and Phenomenology in Nietzsche's Dawn", in Elodie Boublil and Christine Daigle (eds.), Nietzsche and Phenomenology: Power, Life, Subjectivity (Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 217-236.
  • "Nietzsche", in F. Joseph, J, Reynolds, & A. Woodward (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Existentialism (Continuum, 2011), pp. 290-300.
  • "Questions of the Subject in Nietzsche and Foucault: A Reading of 'Dawn'", forthcoming in J. Constancio (ed.), Nietzsche and Subjectivity (Walter de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 411-435.
  • "Nietzsche, the Sublime, and the Sublimities of Philosophy", Nietzsche-Studien, Band 39, 2010, pp. 201-32.
  • "For Mortal Souls: Philosophy and Therapeia in Nietzsche's Dawn", (Royal Institute of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 137-165.
  • "On Nietzsche's Moral Therapy in Dawn", Continental Philosophy Review, 44: 2, 2011, pp. 179-204.
  • "True to the Earth: Nietzsche's Epicurean Care of Self and World", in Horst Hutter & Eli Friedland (eds.), Nietzsche's Therapeutic Teaching (Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 97-116.
  • "Attachment to Life, Understanding Death: Nietzsche and D. H.Lawrence", Parrhesia, 18, 2013, pp. 22-35.
  • "Care of Self in Dawn: On Nietzsche's Resistance to Bio-political Modernity", in Manuel Knoll & Barry Stocker (eds.), Nietzsche as a Political Thinker (Walter de Gruyter, 2014), pp. 269-86.
  • (with Michael Ure), "Contra Kant: Naturalism and Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in T. Bailey & J. Constancio, Nietzsche and Kantian Ethics (Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming 2016).
  • "The Need for Small Doses: Nietzsche, Fanaticism, and Epicureanism", in Celine Denat and Patrick Wotling (eds.), Aurore : un tournant dans l'oeuvre de Nietzsche(Éditions et presses de l'université de Reims, 2015), pp. 193-225.
  • "Nietzsche and Epicurus: In Search of the Heroic-Idyllic", in Mark Conard (ed.), Nietzsche and the Philosophers (forthcoming 2017).
  • "Beyond Selfishness: Epicurean Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in R. Bamford (ed.), Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Free Spirit (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2015), pp. 49-69.
  • "When Wisdom Assumes Bodily Form", in Manuel Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Consciousness and the Embodied Mind (Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming 2016).
  • "Nietzsche's 'Human, all too Human'", in Paul Katsafanas (ed.), The Nietzsche Handbook (Routledge, 2017, forthcoming).
  • "Naturalism as a Joyful Science: Nietzsche, Deleuze, and the Art of Life", Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 47: 1, Spring 2016, pp. 119-141.



Professor of Philosophy

Office Hours:

Currently by appointment

MA Modules:



Deleuze and Philosophy: Empiricism and Naturalism

UG Modules:

Nietzsche in Context