19th-Century Philosophy

casparCaspar David Friedrich, The Monk by the Sea

My interests in 19th-century philosophy are broad but orbit around two main themes. In the first place, I am concerned in tracing how Kant’s transcendental idealism, which maintains that human rationality is responsible for the constitution of our conscious experience of the world and the moral and political norms that inflect our self-consciousness of action, was transformed by Fichte, the early Schelling, and Hegel into distinctive forms of idealism.

In the second place, I am concerned with how the reception of these forms of idealism set the stage for 19th-century developments more generally and, in turn, ultimately 20th-century continental philosophy. In particular, here I am concerned with how figures such as the German Romantics, Schopenhauer, the late Schelling, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche contend that there are dimensions of our experience of nature, human existence, and history that cannot be explained by our rationality. These dimensions, they argue, include art, the unconscious, religious experience, and the foundations of morality. In particular, this has led me to begin a translation of Friedrich Schlegel’s 1800-1801 Jena lectures Transcendental Philosophy.

To date, these interests have led to publications on Kant and German Idealism, German Romanticism, and the late Schelling.

Kant and German Idealism
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Rethinking German Idealism. Edited by S.J. McGrath and Joseph Carew. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

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German Romanticism
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The Irreducibility of Aesthetics in Novalis’ Conception of Nature.” In L’Homme et la nature. Politique, critique et esthétique dans le romantisme allemande, edited by Giulia Valpione und Arnaud François. Münster: Lit Verlag, forthcoming.

The Late Schelling
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F.W.J. Schelling. “Philosophy of Revelation 1841/1842.” In The Schelling Reader, edited by Daniel Whistler and Benjamin Berger, co-translated with Michael Vater. New York: Bloomsbury, 2020.

“Schelling’s Critique of Hegel: Its Historical Context, Argument, and Legacy.” In The Palgrave Schelling Handbook, edited by S.J. McGrath and Kyla Bruff. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.