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Keith Ansell-Pearson

Profile

Joined the Philosophy Department at Warwick in 1993 and has held a Personal Chair since 1998. He previously taught at the University of Malawi in southern Africa and Queen Mary College of the University of London. He did his graduate work at the University of Sussex. Since graduation he has published widely in modern European philosophy. He has presented lectures around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the USA. In 2013/14 he was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. He serves on the editorial boards of, amongst others, Cosmos and History, Deleuze Studies, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Nietzsche-Studien. He is on the scientific committee of 'Nietzscheana' edited by Giuliano Campioni and Maria Cristina Fornari (ETS, Pisa), and he is a member of GIRN (Groupe International de Recherches sur Nietzsche). He is the co-editor of two new book series: with Matthew Sharpe & Michael Ure, Philosophy as a Way of Life (Bloomsbury Press); with Daniel Conway, The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Nietzsche (Edinburgh University Press).

Research Interests

His research interests centre on the history of philosophy and modern European philosophy. He has interests in the philosophy of time, the philosophies of life and nature, philosophy as a way of life (especially its modern re-invention), and the post-human/posthumanities.

Current Research

I have recently completed a new study of Nietzsche entitled Nietzsche’s Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2018). 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 commitment to various enlightenments, his critique of fanaticism, his search for the heroic-idyllic, his philosophy of modesty, his conception of ethics, and his search for joy and happiness.

I continue to work on Bergson and Deleuze: recent work includes essays on Bergson's reformation of philosophy, on Bergson on education and the art of life, on Deleuze's posthuman Bergsonism and on Deleuze's relation to new materialism. I have recently completed a book entitled Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition that Bloomsbury Press will publish in early 2018.

I have commenced work on a new study of Deleuze, centred on his commitment to materialism and his Spinozism. I seek to show why Deleuze is important for what is called the 'new materialism' but that he also bequeaths a complex legacy to contemporary thought about the human. In key work of the 1950s and 1950s Deleuze’s texts support a rich philosophical naturalism that is also a kind of humanism (the concern is with the promotion of human emancipation and the freedom of Reason); in his collaborative work with Guattari in the 1970s his work takes on a more anti-humanist inflection and orientation (here the human is placed on a plane of immanence that strips it of its ontological privilege). Although it is stated by some of its proponents that new materialism is a term of recent coinage, this overlooks the fact that in the 1960s Deleuze was using this term in connection with his reading of Spinoza. It is my view that it is Deleuze’s Spinozism that accounts for his complicated reception, allowing, as it does, for both humanist and anti-humanist, and even post-humanist, appropriations. Deleuze’s Spinozism allows for different possibilities for thinking, then, and the concern that I express is that we are being invited to opt for an anti-humanist and post-humanist position at the cost of neglecting important insights that Deleuze developed in his reading of Spinoza in the 1960s, notably into the ethical task of human emancipation.

I am 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 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.

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

  • "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, Jessica Whyte (eds.), What is Education?, (forthcoming 2017).

  • "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).


 

KAP


 

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