Professor Peter Dews

Emeritus Professor
School of Philosophy and Art History
Professor Peter Dews
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872714

  • Location

    5B.123, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    See office door



Peter Dews read English at Queens' College Cambridge, and took an MA in the sociology of literature at Essex, going on to gain a PhD in philosophy at Southampton University. Before coming to Essex, he taught at philosophy Middlesex University and European philosophy and literature at Anglia Ruskin University. He is author of Logics of Disintegration (1987, reissued in the Verso 'Radical Thinkers' series 2007), The Limits of Disenchantment (1995), and The Idea of Evil (2007); he has also edited Autonomy and Solidarity: Interviews with Jürgen Habermas (1986), and Habermas: A Critical Reader (1999), and co-edited (with Simon Critchley) Deconstructive Subjectivities (1997). He has been a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Tübingen, and has held visiting positions at the University of Konstanz, at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, at the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research, at Columbia University, and in the Center for the Humanities, Grinnell College.


  • BA Cambridge

  • MA Essex

  • PhD Southampton

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Modernity and the problem of evil

History of German philosophical romanticism and Idealism

Hegel and the Left Hegelians

The Frankfurt School and contemporary Critical Theory

French philosophy from Sartre and Merleau-Ponty to the present

Philosophy and psychoanalysis (especially Lacanian theory)


Journal articles (12)

Dews, P., (2017). Schwerpunkt: Schelling zwischen Metaphysik und Erfahrung der Freiheit. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 65 (2), 206-210

Dews, P., (2017). A forum for philosophical imagination and social critique. Philosophy & Social Criticism. 43 (3), 250-251

Dews, P., (2017). Theoriekonstruktion und existenzielle Beschreibung in Schellings Freiheitsschrift. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 65 (2), 239-266

Dews, P., (2017). Theory Construction and Existential Description in Schelling's Treatise on Freedom. British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 25 (1), 157-178

Dews, P., (2014). Dialectics and the Transcendence of Dialectics: Adorno's Relation to Schelling. British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 22 (6), 1180-1207

Dews, P., (2014). Nietzsche for Losers?. New Left Review. 86

Dews, P., (2008). Intersubjectivity and the “Space of Reasons”: Fichte in the post-analytic context. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal. 29 (1), 113-159

Dews, P., (2008). Review of Alain Badiou, Being and Event. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Dews, P., (2002). Imagination and the Symbolic:Castoriadis and Lacan. Constellations. 9 (4), 516-521

Dews, P., (1996). Law, Solidarity and the Tasks of Philosophy. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory. 43 (88), 107-127

Dews, P., (1992). Foucault and the French tradition of historical epistemology. History of European Ideas. 14 (3), 347-363

Dews, P., (1990). Hegel in Analysis: Slavoj Zizek's Lacanian Dialectics. Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. 11 (1-2), 1-8

Books (2)

Dews, P., (2008). The Idea of Evil. John Wiley And Sons Ltd. 9781405117043

Dews, P., (1995). The Limits of Disenchantment: Essays on Contemporary European Philosophy. Verso. 9781859840221

Book chapters (16)

Dews, PK., (2018). Schelling and the Frankfurt School. In: The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School. Editors: Gordon, P., Hammer, E. and Honneth, A., . Routledge

Dews, P., (2017). The Configuration of the Ethical Demand in Løgstrup and Levinas. In: What is Ethically Demanded? K. E. Løgstrup's Philosophy of Moral Life. Editors: Fink, H. and Stern, R., . Notre Dame University Press. 102- 129. 978-0-268-10185-5

Dews, P., (2010). Gunnar Hindrichs, Das Absolute und das Subjekt. Untersuchungen zum Verh�ltnis von Metaphysik und Nachmetaphysik. In: in Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus (2009) / International Yearbook of German Idealism (2009). Editors: Stolzenberg, J., Rush, F., Ameriks, KP. and Franks, P., . De Gruyter. 283- 288. 978-3-11-020878-8

Dews, P., (2010). L?�volution de la doctrine kantienne des postulats de la raison pratique dans La destination de l?homme et dans la Freiheitschrift de Schelling. In: Fichte-Schelling:Lectures crois�es. Editors: Goddard, C. and H�hn, L., . Ergon-Verlag

Dews, P., (2010). Nature and Subjectivity. Fichte?s Role in the Pippin/McDowell Debate in the Light of his neo-Kantian Reception. In: Wissen, Freiheit, Geschichte. Die Philosophie Fichtes im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert.. Editors: Stolzenberg, J. and Rudolph, O., . Rodopi. 235- 250. 978-90-420-2758-9

Dews, P., (2010). "The infinite is losing its charm": Richard Rorty's philosophy of religion and the conflict between therapeutic and pragmatic critique. In: The Philosophy of Richard Rorty. Editors: Auxier, RE. and Hahn, LE., . Open Court. 9780812696417

Dews, P., (2009). The Intolerability of Meaning: Myth, Faith, and Reason in Philosophical Responses to Moral Atrocity. In: The Religious in Responses to Mass Atrocity: Interdisciplinary Persepectives. Editors: Brudholm, T. and Cushman, T., . Cambridge University Press. 60- 76. 9780521518857

Dews, P., (2008). O problema do mal após Freud. In: A filosofia ap�s Freud. Editors: Safatle, V. and Manzi, R., . Editora Humanitas. 15- 32. 9788577320967

Dews, P., (2006). Postmodernism: pathologies of modernity from Nietzsche to the post-structuralists. In: The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Editors: Ball, T. and Bellamy, R., . Cambridge University Press. 343- 467. 9780521691628

Dews, P., (2005). Disenchantment and the persistence of evil : Habermas, Jonas, Badiou. In: Modernity and the Problem of Evil. Editors: Schrift, A., . Indiana University Press. 51- 65. 9780253217585

Dews, P., (2005). The eclipse of coincidence: Lacan, merleau-Ponty and Zizek's misreading of Schelling. In: Traversing the Fantasy: Critical Responses to Slavoj Zizek. Editors: Boucher, S., Glynos, J. and Sharpe, M., . Ashgate

Dews, P., (2004). States of Grace: The Excess of the Demand in Badiou's Ethics of Truths. In: Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy. Editors: Hallward, P., . Bloomsbury. 9781441134882

Dews, P., (2002). Law, Solidarity and the Tasks of Philosophy. In: Discourse and Democracy - Essays on Habermas's Between Facts and Norms. Editors: von Schomberg, R. and Baynes, K., . State University of New York Press. 978-0-7914-5497-8

Dews, P., (2001). A Question of Grounding: Reconstruction and Strict Reflexion in Habermas and Apel. In: Critical Theory - Current State and Future Prospects. Editors: Hohendahl, P. and Fisher, J., . Berghahn Books. 205- 228. 978-1-57181-235-3

Dews, P., (2001). "Radical Finitude" and the Problem of Evil: Critical Comments on Wellmer's Reading of Jonas. In: Rethinking Evil - Contemporary Perspectives. Editors: Lara, MP., . University of California Press. 46- 52. 9780520226340

Dews, P., (1993). The Crisis of Oedipal Identity: Between Lacan and the Frankfurt School. In: Enlightenments: Encounters between Critical Theory and Contemporary French Thought. Editors: Kunneman, H. and de Vries, H., . Kok Pharos Pub. House. 9789039000410

+44 (0) 1206 872714


5B.123, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

See office door