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Matthew Dennis

Overview

I'm a Doctoral Researcher on the joint-PhD programme of the universities of Warwick (UK) and Monash (Australia), specialising in philosophical accounts of character-development and self-cultivation. My current work draws on French and German philosophy, exploring how these traditions have the resources to contribute to debates in Anglophone virtue ethics. I'm also interested in traditional philosophical topics that bear upon practical reasoning, including love, desire, freedom, and the nature of human flourishing.

I've recently co-edited a volume of essays on self-cultivation, which will be published by Routledge in 2018, and prior to this was the principle investigator for a two-year research project on this topic. My essay on philosophical self-cultivation was the winner of the ASCP Postgraduate Essay Prize 2017, and was subsequently published in Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. I have a BA (Sussex) and MA (Warwick) in philosophy, and am currently writing on the potential of online technologies for character development.

PhD Research

Thesis title: "A Theory of Passionate Self-Cultivation".

Supervised by Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick) and Michael Ure (Monash)

Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Dennis, M. (working paper). 'Technologies of Self-Cultivation for the 21st Century'.
  • Dennis, M. (working paper). 'Towards a Theory of Cultivating Our Passionate Attachments'.
  • Dennis, M. (under review). 'Virtue as Empowerment: Spinozism in Nietzsche's Ethics'.
  • Dennis, M. (forthcoming). 'Nietzschean Self-Cultivation: Connecting His Virtues to His Ethical Ideal'. Journal of Value Inquiry. Springer Press.
  • Dennis, M. (2017). 'On the Role of Philosophy in Self-Cultivation: Reassessing Nussbaum’s Critique of Foucault', Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. 28:136–55. (Winner of ASCP Postgraduate Essay Prize)
  • Dennis, M. & Testa, F. (2017). 'Pleasure and Self-Cultivation in Guyau and Nietzsche', The Agonist: Nietzsche Circle Journal, Keith Ansell-Pearson (ed.) 10.2, pp. 94–117. Article here.
Book Chapters
  • Dennis, M. (forthcoming). 'Passionate Individuation: Epicurean Self-Cultivation in Mill and Nietzsche', Nietzsche and Epicurus, R. Johnson (ed.), Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Dennis, M. & Werkhoven, S. (2018). 'Introduction', Ethics and Self-Cultivation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge.
  • Cassam, Q., Dennis, M., Werkhoven, S. (2018). 'Reflections on the Value of Self-Knowledge for Self-Cultivation', Ethics and Self-Cultivation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge.
  • Dennis, M. (2016). 'On the Role of Maxims: Nietzsche's Critique of Kant's Philosophical Anthropology', in Nietzsche’s Engagements with the Kantian Legacy: Aesthetics, Anthropology, and History, M. Branco and K. Hay (eds.), Bloomsbury Publishing. Article here.
  • Dennis, M. & Rowthorn, D. (2014). 'Editors' Introduction', Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy: Nietzsche's Free Spirit Works, M. Dennis and D. Rowthorn (eds.), Vol. 25, pp. v–ix.
Edited Volumes
Reviews
  • Dennis, M. & Okawara, A. (2016). 'Review: C. Swanton, The Virtue Ethics of Hume and Nietzsche (Wiley-Blackwell)', Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 47.3, autumn 2016. Article here.
  • Dennis, M. (2013). 'Review: C. Janaway and S. Robertson (eds.), Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity (Oxford University Press)', Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 44.3, autumn 2013. Article here.
Translations
  • Henri Lefebvre, 'Theory of Ground Rent and Rural Sociology', translated from French with S. Elden and A. Morton, Antipode, Wiley-Blackwell, 48.1, 2016, pp. 67–73. Article here.
  • Werner Stegmaier, 'Beyond the Free Spirit Works', translated from German with D. Rowthorn, 'Nietzsche's Free Spirit Works', Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25, 2014, pp. 177–86.
Research Awards

In addition to these awards, I've also won competitive travel grants from The Aristotelian Society, The Mind Association, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, UK Higher Education Academy, as well as the philosophy departments of the universities of Monash and Warwick.

Conference Papers
  • 'Self-Cultivation in Modern Moral Philosophy', Department of Philosophy, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, China. April 2017.
  • 'Cultivating the Self in the Modern European Tradition', Philosophies of Self-Formation, ASCP 2016, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Dec 2016.
  • 'Virtue as Empowerment: Spinozism in Nietzsche’s Ethics', School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland, Australia. November 2015.
  • 'Nietzschean Self-Cultivation: Connecting the Virtues to His Ethical Ideal', Modern Appraisals of the Hellenistic Legacy, Monash University Prato Centre, Italy. July 2015.
  • 'Nietzsche on Virtue: A Historical Clue to Four Substantive Puzzles', The Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, University of Warwick, UK. July 2015.
  • 'Virtues of Self-Cultivation in Nietzsche', British Society for the History of Philosophy Annual Conference, University of York, UK. April 2015.
  • 'Varieties of Virtue Ethics in the Modern European Tradition: Nietzsche’s Potential Contribution', Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, Oriel College, University of Oxford, UK. Jan 2015.
  • 'Nietzschean Virtues?', Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands. Nov 2014.
  • 'Nietzsche's Fatalism', The Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, UK. July 2014.
  • 'Nietzsche's Conception of Moral Philosophy', Departmental Graduate Seminar, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, UK. May 2014.
  • 'Why Read Nietzsche?', Departmental Philosophy Weekend of University of Warwick, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire, UK. Feb 2014.
  • 'Aristotle's Contribution to Nietzsche's Philosophical Anthropology', Contemporary Aristotelian Studies Conference, University of South Wales, UK. Dec 2013.
  • ‘On Nietzsche’s Imperative to Become What You Are’, Conference of Friedrich Nietzsche Society of Great Britain and Ireland, University College Cork, Ireland. Sept 2013.
  • ‘Naturalism in the Pejorative Sense: On Recent Readings of Nietzsche’, Departmental Graduate Seminar, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, UK. May 2013.
  • ‘Philosophical Askesis: Foucault’s Vision of Political Resistance’, Radical Foucault Conference, University of East London, UK. Sept 2011.
Teaching
  • Course Leader: 'Philosophies of Self-Formation: Technologies of the Self for the 21st Century' (5 x graduate-level lectures), MSCP, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia. Feb 2017.
  • Lecture: 'On Love', Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. 4th April 2016.
  • Lecture: 'On Pleasure', Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. 21st March 2016.
  • Lecture: 'On Virtue', Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. 14th March 2016.
  • Lecture: 'Nietzsche's Ethics', Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick. 3rd March 2015.
  • Lecture: 'Revising the Presocratics', Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick. 28th May 2013.

I have also led seminars for the following modules: 'Philosophy, Happiness, and the Good Life', Deakin University (1 term; undergraduate, 2016); 'Nietzsche in Context', University of Warwick (1 term; undergraduate, 2015); ‘Introduction to Ancient Philosophy', University of Warwick (3 terms; undergraduate, 2012–13); ‘Aesthetics’, Goldsmiths College, University of London (2 terms; postgraduate, 2009–10); ‘Critical Studies’, Goldsmiths College, University of London (2 terms; undergraduate, 2008–09).

Service
  • Seminar organiser: Mark Alfano, 'A Schooling in Contempt: Emotions and the Pathos of Distance', Monash Philosophy Departmental Seminar. Funded by Monash Postgraduate Association (small grant). May 2016.
  • Research assistant: A History of the University in Europe with Prof. Matthew Sharpe, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Funded by Australian Research Council (small grant). Dec 2015.
  • Symposium organiser: 'Nietzsche's Hellenism', British Society for the History of Philosophy Annual Conference, University of York (with F. Chouraqui, K. Mitcheson, and T. Ryan). April 2015.
  • Conference co-organiser: 'Hellenistic Ethics From Nietzsche to Foucault', University of Warwick, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick (with S. Werkhoven). Funded by Monash-Warwick Research Alliance. Sept 2014.
  • Co-edited journal: 'Nietzsche's Free Spirit Works' Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25, (with D. Rowthorn). Jan–Dec 2014.
  • Reading group co-organiser: ‘Kant’s Practical Philosophy: From the Second Critique to the Anthropology’, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick (with B. Berger and I. Schumski). May–June 2014.
  • Reading group co-organiser: ‘Reading Freud Philosophically’, Philosophy Department, University College London (with N. Osborne). Sept 2012–Dec 2013.
Extra-Curricular Activities