Joseph Carew’s research is principally directed at the history of philosophy. His area of specialization is 19th-century German philosophy and, in particular, German Idealism and Romanticism. In terms of branches, his work examines metaphysical and epistemological themes but is also interested in value theory.

He has also published in the area of 20th-century continental philosophy, with a focus on phenomenology and psychoanalysis, and keeps up an active interest in new developments in this field.

Joseph is currently completing a manuscript on Hegel’s logic with the title Hegel’s Realism: Logic, Human Life, and the Discovery of Nature (under review). In this book, he argues against the standard interpretation of Hegel’s logic as a metaphysical account of the rationality of the universe similar to Spinoza’s Ethics. Instead, he contends that Hegel’s logic is an account of the uniquely human instinct of rationality that drives us to create a universe of meaning and how this universe makes human experience possible – an account that proves Hegel’s relevance to contemporary analytic and continental philosophy.

On the one hand, Hegel’s Realism shows how Hegel’s logic, although maintaining that the space of reasons is a naturally-occurring, biological form of life, nevertheless makes a compelling case for human experience being irreducible to nature. It thereby demonstrates how our freedom is reconcilable with a naturalist conception of the world. On the other hand, the book shows how Hegel’s logic, while holding that the universe of meaning that we create is a distinctively human product of language, simultaneously defends the idea that this universe is not a mere idealist or linguistic construct, but can reveal the real, mind-independent structure of the non-human world.

In this way, Hegel’s Realism puts forth the case that Hegel’s logic proposes an original conception of logic that has been overlooked in the history of philosophy. Because this conception balances naturalism and human exceptionalism, as well as metaphysical realism and epistemological idealism, through a novel model of the space of reasons, it proves to be relevant to contemporary philosophical discourse. Joseph thus marshals Hegel to contribute to ongoing debates in speculative realism, analytic epistemology, phenomenology, pragmatism, and metaphysics regarding correlationism, realism versus anti-realism, naturalism, materialism, and the relationship of language to logic and truth.