My current research project, entitled 'Reduced Philosophy: Anthropology's Interrogation of Philosophy from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century. ', is a book length study that analyses the parallels between the philosophical anthropology that is associated with Kant, Herder and Schleiermacher in the late C18th and philosophical positions taken up by those associated with anthropology in the C20th, for instance Max Scheler, Helmut Plessner and Karl Loewith. The discussion will touch on anthropology's critique of Kantian philosophy, its reflections on the subject-object relation, its alleged adherence to naturalist epistemology, and its conception as a 'doctrine of nature' inimical to history. Thinking associated with anthropology will be seen to mobilise a critique of dualism and apriorism which I take to suggest ways beyond the dichotomy of subject and object. Key discussions include Husserl and Scheler's approaches to phenomenology and apriorism, Herder and Heidegger's contrasing attitude to the philosophy of being, and Hans Blumenberg and Charles Taylor's contrasting attitudes to the attitude of anthropology as a theorisation of modernity.
My thesis, which was published in 2006 as a book entitled 'Art at the Limits of Perception: The Aesthetic Theory of Wofgang Welsch', presents and discusses the function and value of art that is seen to operate at the extremes of perception. In the tradition of the pre-Kantian conception of aesthetics as an analogon rationis, I read the modulations of the sensory (absence as well as excess) as comparable interrogations of artistic representation, applying these categories to late twentieth century theatre, in particular that of Samuel Beckett, Peter Handke and Heiner Müller.
This discussion of the limits of perception overlaps with aesthetic theory's enduring interest in the sublime, which has also been a focus on my recent research. I have just had an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, entitled 'The limits of the sublime, the sublime of limits: hermeneutics as a critique of the postmodern sublime'. In the paper I cite both Hegel and Adorno in support of a reading of the sublime as a theoretical figure that insists that identity and meaning are generating by limits and friction between meanings. I contrast this with the tendency, running from Kant to Lyotard, to read the sublime as evidence for one or other exclusive position, such as the supremacy of reason, the total failure of representation, or the absolute aesthetic value of the sublime art object.
I have published an edited book and articles on contemporary German theatre. Recent work has included articles on the contemporary Austrian dramatist Ewald Palmetshofer, entitled 'Phenomenology and the Postdrmatic: Case Study of Three Plays by Ewald Palmetshofer'. Another article, about the contemporary German dramatist Martin Heckmanns, entitled 'Unbestimmtheit als Methode: Die endlosen Stücke von Martin Heckmanns', reads the techniques of thematic and linguistic indeterminacy that characterise his work as a political strategy and as a comment on the status of the artist as a source of political authority.