I specialize in Post-Kantian Continental philosophy, with a focus on German idealism, phenomenology, hermeneutics and deconstruction.
Of particular interest to me are questions about philosophical method, systematicity and dialectics; language, style, literature and authorship; reflexivity, skepticism and the limits of knowledge.
Further areas of interest are the history of philosophy broadly, the history of metaphysics, critical theory, ethics and (the history of) skepticism.
Since my first encounter with Heidegger’s Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis), I have been fascinated by Heidegger’s attempt to enact a transformation of our relation to language. Its publication in 1989, and the recent publication of the “beyng-historical” works in its wake, have altered our understanding of Heidegger’s development and raise important systematic questions. We’ve barely scratched the surface in interpreting these texts, and I am working on Heidegger’s ideas of a fundamental disposition [Grundstimmung]; the necessity of philosophy and its arising out of a (hidden) “plight” [Not and Notwendigkeit], the conceptions of Machenschaft and Erlebnis and the question of an “other beginning”.
The theme of skepticism has stubbornly kept rearing its head throughout my studies. From my earliest lectures in the history of philosophy, through my MA-thesis on the indefinability of being and my PhD thesis on the limits of reflection and representation, and my critical evaluation of the accusations of so-called ‘postmodern skepticism’ directed at Derrida. I’ve always felt that skepticism has a philosophical significance that is broader than that of an epistemological position.
My proposed research project is on the fertility and value of skepticism. Though epistemological discussions often revolve around how the skeptic can be rationally refuted, I think its broader significance can come to light by considering, in the words of Levinas, skepticism’s perpetual return in spite of its rational refutation. There are three fundamental theses on skepticism by Hegel, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche that are, I think, impossible to understand if we treat skepticism primarily as a challenge to epistemic justification.
I am working on a translation into Dutch of Hegel’s brilliant early article on skepticism (his 1802 ‘Verhältniss des Skeptizismus zur Philosophie, Darstellung seiner verschiedenen Modificationen, und Vergleichung des Neuesten mit dem Alten’).
I am currently reworking my dissertation into a book. More about that here.