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Keith Ansell-Pearson

Profile

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 graduation I have published widely in modern European philosophy. 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 was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. I draw inspiration from Michel Foucault's concise conception of the problem of philosophy: how can the world be the object of knowledge and at the same time the place of the subject's test?

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • 19th and 20th century European philosophy (e.g. Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze).
  • Modern Process Philosophy: Bergson, William James, Whitehead.
  • The History of Philosophy, the nature of philosophy, and philosophy as a way of life.
  • American Philosophy, especially Emerson.

Recent & Current Research

Recent research includes essays on Bergson, education, and the art of life; Deleuze's new materialism; Nietzsche and Foucault on questions of the subject; Marx and Nietzsche on Epicurus; Nietzsche and the sublime; and Nietzsche on fanaticism.

In recent years I have devoted research to an appreciation of Nietzsche's neglected middle writings, especially Dawn, which is a path breaking work and an exercise in modern emancipation—from fear, superstition, hatred of the self and the body, the short cuts of religion, and the presumptions of morality. I am the author of the Afterword to the new edition and translation of Nietzsche's Dawn (1881) published by Stanford University Press (2011). I am currently completing a book-length study of the text, co-authored with Rebecca Bamford (forthcoming in 2018 with Wiley Blackwell).

At present I am working on a number of other books, including a study of Bergson and Williams James. The aim is to bring the two into rapport on a range of philosophical topics and centred on their conceptions of experience and of empiricism. I am researching a book on Deleuze and Naturalism. In his lifetime Deleuze described himself in various ways: as an empiricist and pluralist, as a pure metaphysician, and as a naturalist. But what is the specific sense of Deleuze's naturalism? And what is the nature of his commitment to it? I am especially interested in his interpretations of Lucretius, of Spinoza, and of Nietzsche.

Forthcoming Books

I have two books forthcoming in 2018 and to be published by Bloomsbury Press:

Nietzsche’s Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings. The aim of this book is to contribute to the teaching of, and research into, Nietzsche’s texts as they centre on his middle writings. These are the texts Human, all too Human (1878-80), Dawn (1881), and The Gay Science (1882). There is a truth in the observation of Havelock Ellis that the works Nietzsche produced between 1878 and 1882 represent the maturity of his genius. In this study I explore key aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophical activity in his middle writings, including his conceptions of philosophy, his search for the heroic-idyllic, his philosophy of modesty, his conception of ethics, and his search for joy and happiness.

Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition. In this work I provide a series of explications and demonstrations of Bergson's conception of philosophy as the discipline that endeavours to 'think beyond the human condition'. My experience of encountering Bergson is similar to the one described by Pierre Hadot who noted that for him as a young student of philosophy at the Sorbonne, ‘Bergsonism was not an abstract, conceptual philosophy, but rather took the form of a new way of seeing the world.’ I empathise with Merleau-Ponty’s insight into Bergson’s philosophy: in unveiling the perceived world ‘along with nascent duration, Bergson rediscovers in the heart of man a pre-Socratic and “prehuman” sense of the world.’

Selected Book Publications

Nietzsche contra Rousseau (Cambridge University Press, 1991/1994).

(ed.) A Companion to Nietzsche (Blackwell, 2006).

Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze (Routledge, 1999).

Bergson and the Time of Life (Routledge, 2002). Read Review

(ed. with John Mullarkey), Bergson: Key Writings (Bloomsbury Press, 2002, second edition 2014).

(ed.) The New Century: Bergsonism, Phenomenology, and Responses to Modern Science (Acumen/University of Chicago Press, 2010). Read review

Henri Bergson Centennial Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2018).

Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2018).

Selected Recent & Forthcoming Publications

  • "Heroic-Idyllic: Nietzsche on Philosophy and the Philosopher in Human, all too Human", in Celine Denat & Patrick Wotling (eds.), Human, trop humain, et les debuts de la reforme de la philosophie (Éditions et presses de l'université de Reims, 2017), pp. 219-243.
  • "The Future is Superhuman: Nietzsche's Gift," in Yunus Tuncel (ed.), Nietzsche and Transhumanism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017), pp. 70-83.
  • "When Wisdom Assumes Bodily Form: Marx and Nietzsche on Epicurus", in Manuel Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Consciousness and the Embodied Mind (Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming).
  • "Circumnavigators of Life's Remote and Dangerous Regions: Nietzsche on the Pre-Platonic Philosophers", Journal of the Dialectics of Nature (China), 39: 3, 2017, pp. 1-21.
  • "Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Passion of Knowledge", in Alan Rosenberg & Joseph Westfall (eds.), Foucault and Nietzsche: A Critical Encounter (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2018).
  • "Nietzsche and Epicurus: In Search of the Heroic-Idyllic", in Mark Conard (ed.), Nietzsche and the Philosophers (Routledge, 2017), pp. 121-145.
  • "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.
  • "Questions of the Subject in Nietzsche and Foucault: A Reading of 'Dawn'", in J. Constancio (ed.), Nietzsche and Subjectivity (Walter de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 411-435.
  • "'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.
  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "Nietzsche on Enlightenment and Fanaticism: On the Middle Writings", in Paul Katsafanas (ed.), Routledge Philosophy Great Minds: Nietzsche (Routledge, 2017, forthcoming).
  • (with Michael Ure), "Contra Kant: Experimental Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in T. Bailey & J. Constancio, Nietzsche and Kantian Ethics (Bloomsbury Press, 2017), pp. 257-291.
  • "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.
  • "Beyond Obligation? Jean-Marie Guyau on Life and Ethics", in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, Volume 77, October 2015, pp 207-225.
  • "Naturalism as a Joyful Science: Nietzsche, Deleuze, and the Art of Life", Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 47: 1, Spring 2016, pp. 119-141.
  • "Naturalism in the Continental Tradition" (with John Protevi), in Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), pp.34-49.
  • "Bergson's Encounter with Biology: Thinking Life", Angelaki, 10: 2, 2005.
  • "Beyond the Human Condition: An Introduction to Deleuze's Lecture Course", Substance, 36: 3, 2007, pp. 59-72.
  • "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 2014).
  • "Bergson, Education, and the Art of Life", in A. J. Bartlett & Justin Clemens (eds.), What is Education?, (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), pp. 115-136.

  • "Bergson's Reformation of Philosophy in Creative Evolution, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, XXIX: 2 (2016), pp. 84-105; a modified version of this essay is also published as 'Bergson's Reformation of Philosophy' in Dissertatio Volume Supplementar 4: Revista de Filosofia, Dossie Bergson 2016 (Brazil), pp. 51-62.

  • "A Melancholy Science? On Bergson's Appreciation of Lucretius", Pli, 27 (2015), pp. 83-101.
  • "Beyond the Human Condition: Bergson and Deleuze", in Jon Roffe (ed.), Deleuze and the Non/Human (Palgrave Macmillan, 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.), The Politics of New Materialism (Routledge, forthcoming 2017), pp. 88-109.
  • "Deleuze's Posthuman Bergsonism", in Christine Daigle (ed.), Posthumanism through Deleuze (Indian University Press, forthcoming 2017).


Professor of Philosophy
Office Hours:

Currently by appointment

MA Modules:

Nietzsche

Bergsonism

Deleuze and Philosophy: Empiricism and Naturalism

UG Modules:

Nietzsche in Context

Philosophy and the Good Life

KAP

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