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Keith Ansell-Pearson

 A final trait for the image of the free-spirited philosopher is contributed by Stendhal...'To be a good philosopher one must be dry, clear, without illusion...'", Nietzsche.


I joined the Philosophy Department at Warwick in 1993 and have held a Personal Chair since 1998. 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 serve on the editorial boards of Cosmos and History, Deleuze Studies, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Nietzsche-Studien. I am on the scientific committee of 'Nietzscheana' edited by Giuliano Campioni and Maria Cristina Fornari (ETS, Pisa), and I am a member of GIRN (Groupe International de Recherches sur Nietzsche).

Research Interests

I have special interests in 19th and 20th century European philosophy, and in philosophy as a way of life. 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.

Recent Research

Recent research includes essays on: the reception of Epicurean teaching in modern European philosophy; Nietzsche and the sublime; Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Passion of Knowledge; Nietzsche and fanaticism; Nietzsche and Kant on self-cultivation; Deleuze's new materialism; Deleuze and post-human Bergsonism; Bergson on education and the art of life; Bergson and philosophy as a way of life.

Current Research

I am researching a book on Nietzsche and 'psychology', in which I explore Nietzsche's interest in philosophical and literary psychologists from Montaigne to Stendhal. Here I concur with Robert Pippin when he argues that Nietzsche is best understood as one of the great French moralistes, not as a great German metaphysician, or as the last metaphysician of the West (pace Heidegger), or as the destroyer or culminator of metaphysics, perhaps not interested in metaphysics at all!

I am the co-editor of two new book series: The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Nietzsche (with Daniel Conway) to be published by Edinburgh University Press, and Philosophy as a Way of Life (with Matthew Sharpe and Michael Ure) to be published by Bloomsbury Press.

New Books

Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings. This book explores Nietzsche's middle writings in terms of what I call his search for philosophy once his turn away from idealism and romanticism takes place in 1878. I provide a series of readings of Human, all too Human (1878-80), Dawn (1881), and The Gay Science (1882). Topics covered include: Nietzsche's conception of philosophy and the philosopher; Nietzsche on fanaticism; Nietzsche on the passion of knowledge and the sublimities of philosophy; Nietzsche's philosophy of modesty and ethics of the care of the self; the meaning of Nietzsche's philosophical cheerfulness; and his conceptions of happiness and joy.

Bergson. Thinking Beyond the Human Condition. Gilles Deleuze has written that, ‘Bergson is not one of those philosophers who ascribe a properly human wisdom and equilibrium to philosophy.’ And as Pierre Hadot notes, Bergson offers the promise of a new way of seeing the world and transforming perception. The task is to think beyond our habitual, utilitarian perception, which is necessary for life. Hadot calls it the paradox and scandal of ‘the human condition’ that we live in the world without properly perceiving it. In eight chapters I explore Bergson's major preoccupations, such as the nature of time and memory, his reformation of philosophy and conception of creative evolution, his innovative approach to ethics, his thinking on religion, and his conception of the tasks of education and the art of life. Throughout I seek to demonstrate what it means for Bergson to 'think beyond the human condition'.

Selected Book Publications

  • Nietzsche contra Rousseau (Cambridge University Press, 1991).
  • 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, 2018).
  • Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings (Bloomsbury Press, 2018).

Recent 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.
  • "Nietzsche and Kant on Epicurus and Self-Cultivation", in Matthew Dennis & Sander Werkhoven (eds.), Ethical Self-Cultivation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, forthcoming, 2018).
  • "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.

Professor of Philosophy
Office Hours:

Currently by appointment

MA Modules:



Deleuze and Philosophy: Empiricism and Naturalism

UG Modules:

Nietzsche in Context

Philosophy and the Good Life