19th Century German Philosophy, Social Philosophy, History of Skepticism
Political Philosophy, Aesthetics
My focus is on late modern German philosophy, especially Hegel and his German Idealist predecessors. Drawing on different parts of Hegel's oeuvre, my dissertation argues that modern epistemology and its skeptical predicament are rooted in the character of modern Ethical Life (Sittlichkeit). Specifically, that the separation of subject and object and a conception of nature as “dead matter”—subject to mechanical laws—is inherently related to personal freedom, the type of freedom Hegel identifies with the market economy. Therefore, the response to skepticism, for Hegel, must be primarily ethical, namely, maintaining and cultivating social institutions that balance the dominance of the economic sphere in the lives of modern individuals. I conclude with a critical assessment of this Hegelian program, suggesting that he was overly optimistic about the prospects of countering skeptical and even nihilistic impacts of the market economy. Other than Hegel and his contemporaries, I have secondary interests in ancient skepticism and liberal theory and aim to show the relevance of Hegelian insights for debates in these fields.