In April 2016 I successfully defended my PhD thesis, From Nature to Spirit: Schelling, Hegel, and the Logic of Emergence. My doctoral research was supervised by Stephen Houlgate and funded by a Chancellor's International Scholarship from the University of Warwick (2011-2014) and a postgraduate bursary from the Royal Institute of Philosophy (2014-2015).
My thesis considers the relationship between nature and spirit in the thought of F.W.J. Schelling and G.W.F. Hegel. More specifically, I focus on the manner in which idealist philosophy of nature provides an account of the emergence of spiritual freedom from inorganic natural processes. I argue that such a logic of emergence allowed Schelling and Hegel to grant nature ontological primacy without reverting to a Spinozism that would sacrifice the ontological specificity of human freedom. In my conclusion, I argue that Schelling's philosophy of nature holds more promise than Hegel's, since it is Schelling who ultimately conceives emergence as an historical event.
Areas of interest
My general research interests include:
- The philosophy of nature (particularly the philosophies of time, matter, and non-mechanical, inorganic phenomena, e.g. chemical and geological processes)
- Philosophical anthropology
- The metaphysics of German idealism
- Conceptions of ontological development and genesis
- Post-Kantian aesthetics
- Idealist, romantic, and phenomenological conceptions of divinity
- The philosophy of technology
'The Difference between Schelling's and Hegel's conceptions of matter', EPEKEINA. International Journal of Ontology. History and Critics (forthcoming 2016)
Editor, Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 26: Schelling: Powers of the Idea (2014)
'Idealism and Emergence: Three Questions for Adrian Johnston', Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 26: Schelling: Powers of the Idea (2014)
Schelling's Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity by Daniel Whistler, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, (currently available at tandfonline.com) (2014)
The Suspension of Reason in Hegel and Schelling by Christopher Lauer, Hegel Bulletin, V.35:1 (2014), 142-147
The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious by S.J. McGrath, Hegel Bulletin, 35:1 (2014), 152-158
Europe, or the Infinite Task by Roldolphe Gasché, Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 21 Novelty, Transformation, and Change (2010), 152-160
At the University of Warwick, I have taught seminars for Elements of Scientific Method, Sartre and Existentialism, Aesthetics I (Kant and Nietzsche), and Issues in Contemporary Aesthetics (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze).
In 2014 I organised a conference with Charlotte Alderwick on Schelling's Freedom essay and Ages of the World entitled 'Evil, Freedom, and Time', funded by the British Society for the History of Philosophy.
Benjamin dot Berger at warwick dot ac dot uk