Staff publications

Below is a selection of the publications by our Philosophy staff. See the individual academic staff profiles for full lists of the publications by our staff or search our research repository.

  • Peter Dews

    Book cover image of The Idea of Evil

    The Idea of Evil, Blackwell, 2008

    This book by explores the idea of evil, one of the most problematic terms in the contemporary moral vocabulary. Despite the widespread abuse and political manipulation of the term, Dews argues that we cannot do without it. Yet our intuitions about evil pull us in different directions. The centrality of the ideal of rational autonomy to our modern self–image makes it hard for us to accommodate deeply rooted and obscurely destructive motivations. Furthermore, once having recognized the reality of evil, we may find ourselves succumbing to moral paralysis, even despair.

    Book cover image of The Limits of Disenchantment

    The Limits of Disenchantment: Essays on Contemporary European Philosophy, Verso, 1995

    This book explores some of the most urgent problems confronting contemporary European thought: the status of the subject after postmodernism, the ethical and existential dimensions of critical theory, the encounter between psychoanalysis and philosophy, and the possibilities of a non-foundational metaphysical thinking. Lacan and the Frankfurt School are brought into dialogue, as are deconstruction and Ricoeur's hermeneutics. Current questions of language, communication and critique are located in a broader context, as the author ranges back over the history of modern philosophy, from poststructuralism to German Romanticism and Idealism.

    Book cover image of The Logics of Disintegration

    Logics of Disintegration: Post-structuralist Thought and the Claims of Theory, Verso, 1987

    Over recent decades, there has still been comparatively little analysis of the basic philosophical assumptions of post-structuralism, or of the compatibility of many of its central tenets with the progressive political orientations with which it is frequently associated. This book, seeks to remedy this situation by setting post-structuralist thought in relation to another, more explicitly critical, tradition in the philosophical analysis of modernity - that of the Frankfurt School, from Adorno to Habermas.

  • Fabian Freyenhagen

    Book cover image of The Idea of Evil

    Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly, Cambridge University Press, 2013

    Adorno notoriously asserted that there is no 'right' life in our current social world. This assertion has contributed to the widespread perception that his philosophy has no practical import or coherent ethics, and he is often accused of being too negative. Fabian Freyenhagen reconstructs and defends Adorno's practical philosophy in response to these charges. He argues that Adorno's deep pessimism about the contemporary social world is coupled with a strong optimism about human potential, and that this optimism explains his negative views about the social world, and his demand that we resist and change it.

    Book cover image of Disputing the Political: Habermas and Rawls

    Fabian Freyenhagen and Gordon Finlayson (eds) Disputing the Political: Habermas and Rawls, Routledge, 2011

    This book re-examines the Habermas-Rawls dispute with an eye toward the ways in which the dispute can cast light on current controversies about political philosophy more broadly. Moreover, the volume covers a number of other salient issues on which Habermas and Rawls have interesting and divergent views, such as the political role of religion and international justice.

     

    Book cover image of The Legacy of John Rawls

    Fabian Freyenhagen and Thom Brooks (eds) The Legacy of John Rawls, Continuum, 2005

    John Rawls was unquestionably the most important moral and political philosopher of the last one hundred years. His A Theory of Justice published in 1971 is already a classic text, and his political philosophy is more widely studied than that of any other theorist. This book explores the legacy of his work, making a substantial contribution not only to work on Rawls' thought but to contemporary debates in ethics and justice as well.

  • Steven Gormley

    Rearticulating the Concept of Experience, Rethinking the Demands of Deconstruction, Research in Phenomenology, 2012

    A principle aim of this paper is to convince friends and critics of deconstruction that they have overlooked two crucial aspects of Derrida's work, namely, his rearticulation of the concept of experience and his account of the experience of undecidability as an ordeal. This is important because sensitivity to Derrida's emphasis on the ordeal of undecidability and his rearticulation of the concept of experience-a rearticulation that is already under way in his early engagement with Husserl and continued in later work-necessitates a rethinking of what the `experience of undecidability' entails.

    Rather than signalling a withdrawal from politics or a normatively impotent ethics of `mere openness to the other,' Derrida's account of the experience of undecidability not only points to a fundamental aspect of our basic ethical experience but also leads to a number of ethico-political demands, which Gormley summarizes as the demand to maintain an ethos of interruption.

  • Béatrice Han-Pile

    Book cover image of Foucault's Critical Project

    Foucault’s Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical, Stanford University Press, 2002

    This book uncovers and explores the constant tension between the historical and the transcendental that lies at the heart of Michel Foucault's work. In the process, it also assesses the philosophical foundations of his thought by examining his theoretical borrowings from Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, who each provided him with tools to critically rethink the status of the transcendental.

  • Fiona Hughes

    Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement

    Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: A Reader’s Guide, Edinburgh University Press, 2007

    Kant's Critique of Judgment is one of the most important works in the history of philosophy. It is a classic text, in which Kant elucidates his aesthetic theory, and is an important piece of philosophical writing. Hughes' book is a clear and thorough account of this key philosophical work and offers a detailed review of the key themes and a lucid commentary that will enable readers to rapidly navigate the text. Concentrating on Kant's Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, the first and most commonly read part of this critique, Hughes explores the complex and important ideas inherent in the text and provides a cogent survey of the reception and influence of Kant's work.

    Book cover image of Kant's Aesthetic Epistemology

    Kant’s Aesthetic Epistemology: Form and World, Millon, 1998

    Drawing on resources from both the Analytical and Continental traditions, Form and World argues that a comprehension of Kant's aesthetics is necessary for grasping the scope and force of his epistemology. Fiona Hughes draws on phenomenological and aesthetic resources to bring out the continuing relevance of Kant's project. One of the difficulties faced in reading the Critique of Pure Reason is finding a way of reading the text as one continuous discussion. This book offers a reading at each stage of Kant's epistemological argument, showing how various elements of Kant's argument, often thought of as extraneous or indefensible, can be integrated.

  • Wayne Martin

    Book cover image of Theories of Judgement

    Theories of Judgement: Psychology, Logic, Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2006

    The exercise of judgement is an aspect of human endeavour from our most mundane acts to our most momentous decisions. In this book Wayne Martin develops a historical survey of theoretical approaches to judgement, focusing on treatments of judgement in psychology, logic, phenomenology and painting. He traces attempts to develop theories of judgement in British Empiricism, the logical tradition stemming from Kant, nineteenth-century psychologism, experimental neuropsychology and the phenomenological tradition associated with Brentano, Husserl and Heidegger.

    Book cover image of Idealism and-Objectivity

    Idealism and Objectivity: Understanding Fichte’s Jena Project, Stanford University Press, 1997

    The theoretical writings from Johann Gottlieb Fichte's short tenure at Jena (1794-99) are among the most difficult and influential works of classical German philosophy. Fichte's appropriation of Kant's transcendental project not only established the framework for the subsequent idealist tradition (Schelling, Hölderlin, Hegel), but also introduced philosophical themes and strategies that would dominate the Continental tradition well into the twentieth century. This book offers a new interpretation of Fichte's Jena system, focusing in particular on the problem of the objectivity of consciousness.

  • David McNeill

    Book cover image of An Image of the Soul in Speech

    An Image of the Soul in Speech: Plato and the Problem of Socrates, Penn State University Press, 2010

    David McNeill seeks in this book to illuminate Plato's distinctive approach to philosophy by examining how his literary portrayal of Socrates manifests an essential interdependence between philosophic and ethical inquiry. In particular, the book demonstrates how Socrates' confrontation with profound ethical questions about his public philosophic activity is the key to understanding the distinctively mimetic, dialogic, and reflexive character of Socratic philosophy. Taking a cue from Nietzsche's account of 'the problem of Socrates', McNeill shows how the questions Nietzsche raises are questions that Plato depicts Socrates as aware of and responding to.

  • Mark Sacks (1953-2008)

    Book cover image of Objectivity and Insight

    Objectivity and Insight, Oxford University Press, 2000

    The first two parts of Objectivity and Insight explore the prospects for objectivity on the standard ontological conception. In part one, Sacks addresses the problem of securing epistemic reach that extends beyond subjective content. In so doing, he considers models of mind proposed by Locke, Hume, Kant, James, and Bergson. Part two discusses the scope for universality of normative structure-a problem which survives even after the assumption of an epistemologically significant breach between subject and object has been rejected. In the third part of the book Sacks introduces an alternative conception of objectivity, and shows that there is good reason to accept it. This conception turns on an insight which is taken to be implicit in transcendental idealism, and responsible for its abiding appeal; but Sacks's articulation of that insight is neither idealist nor metaphysical.

  • Jörg Schaub

    Book cover image of Justice as Reconiliation

    Gerechtigkeit als Versöhnung. John Rawls’ politischer Liberalismus (Justice as Reconciliation: John Rawl’s Political Liberalism), Campus, 2009

    Can we as members of democratic societies reach agreement about a political conception of justice despite the fact that our religious and secular views are mutually incompatible? What shall we make of this doctrinal pluralism? Do we have reasons to expect our fellow citizens to contribute equally in bringing about and maintaining a just democracy?

    These questions are central to John Rawls's political liberalism. The answers citizens give to these questions shape their attitudes to liberal democracy and politics in general. Jörg Schaub reconstructs Rawls's ambitious project of reconciliation with liberal democracy, subjects it to comprehensive criticism, and reveals its Hegelian roots.

  • Daniel Watts

  • Michael Weston

    Book cover image of Philosophy, Literature and Human Good

    Philosophy, Literature and the Human Good, Routledge, 2001

    In this provocative new examination of the philosophical, moral and religious significance of literature, Michael Weston explores the role of literature in both analytic and continental traditions. He initiates a dialogue between them and investigates the growing importance of these issues for major contemporary thinkers. Each chapter explores a philosopher or literary figure who has written on the relation between literature and the good life, such as Derrida, Kierkegaard, Murdoch and Blanchot.

    Book cover image of Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy

    Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy, Routledge, 1994

    Michael Weston argues that, despite being acknowledged as a precursor to Nietzsche and post-Nietzschean thinkers such as Heidegger and Derrida, the radical nature of Kierkegaard's critique of philosophy has been missed. Weston examines and explains the metaphysical tradition, as exemplified by Plato and Hegel, and the post-metaphysical critiques of Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida. He shows how Kierkegaard's ethical critique of philosophy undermines the former and escapes the latter. He considers another ethical critique of philosophy, that of Levinas, before identifying ethics as the non-philosophical site where philosophy can be criticised