Continental Philosophy

My interests in continental philosophy mirror those of my work on Kant and German Idealism: theories of human experience, understood broadly so as to include moral and social experience, and the role rationality plays in it. This has led me to do work on topics such as psychoanalytic theories of the relation of consciousness and reason to unconscious drives, phenomenological models of embodiment and being-in-the-world as more primary than reason in the constitution of experience, and poststructuralist accounts of the history of thought that demonstrate the contingency of what we take to be rationally the case.

These interests have led to two noteworthy publications. The first is a monograph on Žižek, the culmination of my research on psychoanalysis. While Žižek is no longer an active part of my research, the experience of having written a monograph is something I take with me. The second is an article on the French phenomenologist Jean-Luc Marion. This was my first publication and it won an award from the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy.

Publication on Žižek

1. Ontological Catastrophe: Žižek and the Paradoxical Metaphysics of German Idealism. Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2014. 323p.

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  • Here I take up the central question of Žižek’s metaphysics: How could the freedom exhibited in human consciousness and culture, the domain of our experience, have arisen out of the causal network of nature? Reconstructing and expanding upon his reading of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, I argue that Žižek’s offers us an original response: experience is only possible if we presuppose a prior breakdown in our biology, thanks to which we are no longer causally determined by instincts, but can instead construct a social world of rules, conventions, and norms that determine how we perceive the world and act in it.

Publication on Phenomenology

“The Threat of Givenness in Jean-Luc Marion: Toward a New Phenomenology of Psychosis.” Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy. Vol. 13.2 (Fall 2009): 97-115. DOI: 10.5840/symposium200913226.

  • Absent within Jean-Luc Marion’s theory of selfhood is an account of psychosis that displaces standard phenomenological and psychoanalytic models. Working primarily with Book V of Being Given, my paper sketches the formal possibilities exhibited in a self who cannot manage the superabundance of the given and, swept away by an uncontrollable flood of givenness, thereby falls into a hysteria of self-experience and loses its ipseity. Then, contrasting psychosis with positive figures of the self, I explore the dynamic relationship between givenness and the gifted highlighted by the phenomenological diremption and effacement of selfhood displayed in both.

 

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