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Keith Ansell-Pearson

Joined Warwick's Philosophy Department in 1993 and has held a Personal Chair since 1998. He has presented lectures around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States. In 2013/14 he was Senior Visiting Research Fellow in the Humanities at Rice University. He is the author of monographs on Nietzsche and Bergson, co-editor of The Nietzsche Reader (Blackwell), and co-editor of Bergson: Key Writings (Bloomsbury Press). He is also the co-editor of two new book series: Re-inventing Philosophy as a Way of Life, with Matthew Sharpe & Michael Ure (Bloomsbury Press), and The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Nietzsche, with Daniel Conway (Edinburgh University Press). He is a member of GIRN (Groupe International de Recherches sur Nietzsche), and serves on the editorial boards of Cosmos and History, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Nietzsche-Studien.

Research Interests

Modern European Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, with special interests in the philosophy of time, the philosophy of the emotions, the philosophies of life and nature, and philosophy as a way of life.

Current Research

In recent years I have made a specific contribution to Nietzsche studies with a focus on Nietzsche's middle writings. I am interested in what becomes of our appreciation of Nietzsche as a thinker and writer when we focus on these works, such as The Wanderer and His Shadow and Dawn, and I share in the observation of Havelock Ellis that the works Nietzsche produced between 1878 and 1882 represent the maturity of his genius. 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 the passion of knowledge, 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 published by Stanford University Press in 2011 and as part of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche. My study of Dawn, co-authored with Rebecca Bamford, will be published in 2020 with Wiley-Blackwell. Nietzsche's text is a path breaking work and an exercise in modern emancipation from fear, superstition, hatred of the self and the body, the short cuts of religion, and the presumptions of morality. However, it is no exaggeration to claim that for the greater part of Nietzsche-reception Dawn has been the most neglected text in Nietzsche’s corpus, and perhaps for the following reasons: it deploys no master concept, it does not seek an ultimate solution to the riddles of existence (indeed, it warns against such a strategy), its presentation of themes and problems is highly non-linear, and it states its case for the future subtly and delicately. Although there is no master concept at work in Dawn, and no overarching method (but a plurality of methods that add up to an experimental philosophy), the text may be better for their absence, helping to constitute one of Nietzsche’s most subtle and delicate experiments at writing and thinking.

With Paul S. Loeb I am editing a new volume of essays on Thus Spoke Zarathustra for Cambridge University Press to be published in their 'Critical Guides' series. The volume will showcase new research.

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.

I have recently completed an essay on 'Bergson and Philosophy as a Way of Life', to be published in a new volume of essays on Bergson by Cambridge University Press, Interpreting Bergson: Critical Essays, and edited by Alexandre Lefebvre and Nils Schott. The essay takes its inspiration from Pierre Hadot’s insight that Bergsonism is not an abstract, conceptual philosophy but a philosophy that takes the form of a new way of seeing the world. 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.

With Federico Testa I am editing the English edition and translation of Jean-Marie Guyau’s text, The Ethics of Epicurus (1878). With him I am also working on an essay on Guyau and ethics for the Oxford Handbook of Modern French Philosophy (edited by Mark Sinclair and Daniel Whistler).

'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)

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
  • Bergson and the Time of Life (Routledge, 2002). Read Review
  • Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition (Bloomsbury Press, 2018). 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

Selected Essays

  • "Nietzsche on Transforming the Passions into Joys: On the Middle Writings and Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra. Nietzsche et la philosophie de l'affirmation, sous la direction de C. Bertot, J. Leclercq et P. Wotling (Presses Universitaires de Louvain, forthcoming 2019).
  • "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 (ed.), Interpreting Bergson: Critical Essays (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2020).
  • "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

Professor of Philosophy
Office Hours:

Currently by appointment

MA Modules:

Nietzsche

UG Modules (open to MA students in 2018/19):

Philosophy and the Good Life

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