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Keith Ansell-Pearson

Research Interests & Links

Both my teaching and research are anchored in the history of philosophy. I also read widely in literature, especially for my interests in the emotions and in time and memory. I am the co-editor of two new book series: Re-inventing Philosophy as a Way of Life (Bloomsbury Press), and The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Nietzsche (Edinburgh University Press). I am a member of Groupe International de Recherches sur Nietzsche (GIRN), and I serve on the editorial boards of Journal of Nietzsche Studies and Nietzsche-Studien.

'In Our Time' (BBC Radio 4) on Bergson and Time, May 2019

Nietzsche's Middle Writings: An Interview with Richard Marshall

Why I write such excellent songs: David Bowie 1947-2016 (Radical Philosophy, issue 196, 2016)

The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Nietzsche, Series Editors Keith Ansell-Pearson & Daniel Conway

The Agonist: A Nietzsche Circle Journal

Friedrich Nietzsche Society

Teaching

In the autumn term I teach a MA module on Nietzsche and focused on his middle writings, looking in particular at Nietzsche's conceptions of philosophy and the tasks of the philosopher. Following Nietzsche's own advice the module adopts and pursues the practice of slow reading and encourages students to engage deeply with selected aphorisms from the middle writings. I also teach in this term an undergraduate module on the Philosophy of the Emotions, examining a range of material in philosophy (Seneca on anger, Montaigne on various emotions, Hume and Adam Smith on sympathy, Rousseau on pity, Nietzsche on the passions and his critique of the sympathetic affects, Stendhal and de Beauvoir on love, Max Scheler on ressentiment), psychology (William James and Freud), and literature (Proust and jealousy, and Virginia Woolf and Bergson on time and the emotions). In the spring term I teach a MA module on Bergson. The module focuses mainly on his thinking about time and memory, but also pays close attention to Bergson as a thinker who seeks to promote, in a highly original way, philosophy as a way of life. For Bergson philosophy has a twofold function: to extend or expand human perception and to enhance the human power to act and live.

Research

In my research I seek to make a contribution to both scholarship and philosophical cultivation by publishing monographs and essays containing novel and fresh insights, and by publishing editions of key writings & and readers, as well as critically annotated translations.

Recent Research

Nietzsche Studies

In recent years I have made a specific contribution to Nietzsche studies with a focus on Nietzsche's middle writings. In 2018 Bloomsbury Press published Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings. In this study I provide new insights into the nature of Nietzsche's philosophical practice, including his commitment to a new Enlightenment and his engagement with fanaticism, his philosophy of modesty, his conception of philosophical cheerfulness, and his interest in Epicurus and the practice of heroic-idyllic philosophising. I have written the Afterword to the new edition and translation of Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality published by Stanford University Press in 2011 and as part of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche. I have recently completed a co-authored study of Dawn with Rebecca Bamford that will be published in 2020 by Wiley-Blackwell.

Henri Bergson

In 2018 Bloomsbury Press published Bergson. Thinking Beyond the Human Condition. This book has received an Outstanding Academic Titles Award by CHOICE. The book seeks to illuminate Bergson's view that philosophy is the discipline that makes the effort to think beyond the human condition so as to extend our perception of the universe. The book explores Bergson on time and freedom, on memory, on his reformation of philosophy in Creative Evolution, on religion, on ethics, and on education and the art of life.

I have been appointed the co-general editor of a publication venture by Bloomsbury Press. This is the translation into English of the recently published series by PUF (2016-18) of three public lecture courses by Bergson: The History of the Idea of Time (1902/3), The History of Theories of Memory (1903/4), The Evolution of the Problem of Freedom (1904/5). I am working on this project with Donald A. Landes.

Jean-Marie Guyau

With Federico Testa I am editing the English edition and translation of Jean-Marie Guyau’s text, The Ethics of Epicurus (1878).

Current Research

Essays

  • Continuing the work I have been doing on Nietzsche's middle writings I am researching an essay on Nietzsche and Voltaire for a volume of essays on Nietzsche being edited by James I. Porter for a new series entitled Cambridge Studies in Literature and Philosophy.
  • I am researching an essay on Schopenhauer's appreciation of the Hellenistic schools of philosophy, including the Cynics, the Stoics, and Epicurus and his school. My essay will include a comparison with Nietzsche on these schools. The essay is being written for a volume of essays on Schopenhauer to be published in Routledge's series Philosophical Minds, and being edited by Timothy Stoll and David Woods.
  • I am researching an essay on Bergson and the emotions for a volume of essays entitled The Bergsonian Mind being edited by Yaron Wolf and Mark Sinclair for Routledge.

  • I am researching an essay on Proust and memory for a volume being edited by Anna Elsner and Tom Stern, again for Routledge's Philosophical Minds series. For the same volume I am also writing an essay on the pertinence of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche for an appreciation of Proust.
  • With Federico Testa I am working on an essay on Guyau and ethics for the Oxford Handbook of Modern French Philosophy, and that is being edited by Mark Sinclair and Daniel Whistler.

New Books

Nietzsche and the Passions

I am now researching a book on Nietzsche and the passions. My study examines Nietzsche's thoughts on a range of emotions - including fear, hope, love, vanity, pride, sympathy, compassion, shame, melancholy, and so on - as well as the role specific emotions and moods, such as cheerfulness, play in his conception of the nature and tasks of philosophy. I also illuminate the nature of Nietzsche's commitment to the passion of knowledge. I bring him into rapport with a range of thinkers in the history of thought who have written on the emotions, including the Stoics, Montaigne, Hume, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, La Rochefoucauld, and Stendhal. In the book I provide illuminating exegeses of specific aphorisms. In focusing my study on Nietzsche and the passions I hope to reveal important insights into his philosophy, as well as providing a series of instructive insights into the character of his philosophising.

Bergson and Philosophy as a Way of Life

In this new book I take my cue from Pierre Hadot who revealed in an interview that for him as a young student of philosophy at the Sorbonne 'Bergsonism' was far from being considered as an abstract, conceptual philosophy, but instead assumed the form of a new way of seeing the world. I seek to show how Bergson's thinking on time (duration), on intuition, and on sympathy can be connected to the practice of philosophy as a way of life, and, furthermore, that even when he examines core metaphysical questions, such as the relation between the real and the possible, he is keen to show the consequences of our thinking for cultivating the art of living. In the book I accord a special role to an examination of Bergson on the emotions, including the nature and significance of creative emotion, and seek to bring him into rapport - on questions about sympathy and the emotions in general - with Plotinus, the Stoics, Spinoza, Hume & Adam Smith, and other figures in the history of philosophy.

Selected Book Publications

Authored

  • Nietzsche contra Rousseau (Cambridge University Press, 1991).
  • Nietzsche's Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings (Bloomsbury Press, 2018). Read Review | Read Review | Read Review
  • Nietzsche's Dawn (co-authored with Rebecca Bamford) (Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming 2020).
  • Bergson and the Time of Life (Routledge, 2002). Read Review
  • Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition (Bloomsbury Press, 2018). Read review | Read review | Read Review

Edited

  • Nietzsche and Modern German Thought (Routledge, 1991).
  • A Companion to Nietzsche (Blackwell, 2006).
  • (with Duncan Large), The Nietzsche Reader (Blackwell, 2006).
  • (with John O Maoilerca) Bergson: Key Writings (Bloomsbury Press, 2002, second edition 2014).
  • The New Century: Bergsonism, Phenomenology, and Responses to Modern Science (Acumen/University of Chicago Press, 2010). Read review
  • (with Paul S. Loeb), A Critical Guide to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021).

Selected Essays from 2010 to the Present

  • "Nietzsche on Transforming the Passions into Joys: On the Middle Writings and Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Nietzsche, penseur de l'affirmation. Relecture d'Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra , sous la direction de C. Bertot, J. Leclercq et P. Wotling (Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 2019), pp. 73-90.
  • "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, 2018), pp. 68-83.
  • "When Wisdom Assumes Bodily Form: Marx and Nietzsche on Epicurus", in Manuel Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Consciousness and the Embodied Mind (Walter de Gruyter, 2018), pp. 309-327.
  • "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, 2018), pp. 79-99.
  • "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.
  • "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.), The Nietzschean Mind(Routledge, 2018), pp. 11-27.
  • "'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.
  • "Nietzsche, the Sublime, and the Sublimities of Philosophy", Nietzsche-Studien, Band 39, 2010, pp. 201-232.
  • "Bergson and Philosophy as a Way of Life", in Alexandre Lefebvre & Nils Schott (eds.), Interpreting Bergson: Critical Essays (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2020), pp. 121-138.
  • "Henri-Louis Bergson (1859-1941)", The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line version, published 2017).
  • "Bergson, Education, and the Art of Life", in A. J. Bartlett & Justin Clemens (eds.), What is Education?, (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), pp. 115-136.
  • "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.
  • "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).
  • "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 New Politics of Materialism (Routledge, 2017), pp. 88-109.

  • "Naturalism in the Continental Tradition" (with John Protevi), in Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), pp.34-49.

  • "Beyond Obligation? Jean-Marie Guyau on Life and Ethics", in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, Volume 77, October 2015, pp 207-225.

  • (with Michael Ure), "Contra Kant: Experimental Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau", in T. Bailey & J. Constancio (eds.), Nietzsche and Kantian Ethics (Bloomsbury Press, 2018), 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.

KAP

"Why don't people see things? They themselves are standing in the way...", Nietzsche.

Professor of Philosophy
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