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Research interests

My main areas of research are German Idealism and aesthetics. My doctoral dissertation and first book dealt with Hegel (also with Kant) and the question of the conditions of founding a new ethical, social-political form of life and of the violence of such fundamental changes. Since then, I have been working mainly on Kant, on his theoretical philosophy, as well as on his practical philosophy and aesthetics. In Kant's theoretical philosophy, I am interested in the idea that the assumption of the purposiveness of nature for our cognitive capacities is a necessary transcendental condition of any experience and knowledge. In his practical philosophy, I am concerned with the question of how we acquire moral knowledge and whether the categorical imperative offers a way to gain such knowledge. In Kant's aesthetics, I relate his conception of beauty in nature to the search for the transcendental conditions of experience; I am also very interested in his conception of artistic beauty and the relation between the two conceptions. In aesthetics more generally, I attempt to give substance to my strong sense that certain philosophical problems can only be dealt with through works of literature. I have written on Sophocles's (and Hegel's) Antigone, a little on Schiller's Wallenstein (I intend to return to Schiller) and on Coetzee's Disgrace and The Lives of Animals.

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