•  51
    Philosophical anthropology aims to discover what makes us human, but it has produced accounts that exclude some members of our species. It relies often on a non-naturalistic “philosophy of consciousness” and locates humanity in the cognitive capacity to objectively represent things, to reason teleologically and use tools, to use symbols and language, or to be self-conscious and question existence. This work pursues an alternative, thoroughly naturalistic philosophical anthropology in the traditi…Read more
  •  48
    ISBN 978-1-4384-9027-4 Argues that Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch was a central concern of filmmakers in the 1920s and 1930s. Nietzsche in Hollywood offers a compelling and startling history of Hollywood film in which the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his idea of the Übermensch looms large. Though Nietzsche’s philosophy was attacked as egoistic and a sociopathic version of Darwinism in films from the 1910s, it undergoes a series of cinematic and philosophical transformations in …Read more
  •  58
    This book provides an account of the unity of Immanuel Kant’s early metaphysics, including the moment he invents transcendental idealism. Matthew Rukgaber argues that a division between “two worlds”—the world of matter, force, and space on the one hand, and the world of metaphysical substances with inner states and principles preserved by God on the other—is what guides Kant’s thought. Until 1770 Kant consistently held a conception of space as a force-based material product of monads that are on…Read more
  •  44
    Sexual Meaning and Social Pathology: Merleau-Ponty contra Sartre
    with Matthew Rukgaber
    Études Phénoménologiques 1 (4): 201-224. 2020.
    This article explores the importance of Merleau-Ponty’s account of sexuality for his early theories of existence and expression. The holistic, social, and plural nature of expressive human behavior, which is elaborated in The Structure of Behavior, is used to argue against criticisms that his early works remain stuck in naturalism. Upon this theory of expression and through a close reading of 'Le corps comme être sexué' chapter of the Phenomenology of Perception, many classic criticisms of his p…Read more
  •  61
    I propose that we interpret Kant’s argument from incongruent counterparts in the 1768 article ‘Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space’ in light of a theory of dynamic absolute space that he accepted throughout the 1750s and 1760s. This force-based or material conception of space was not an unusual interpretation of the Newtonian notion of absolute space. Nevertheless, commentators have continually argued that Kant’s argument is an utter failure that s…Read more
  •  33
    Peace and the Unity of Kant’s Critical Project (review)
    The Acorn 19 (1): 43-47. 2019.
    Rossi’s book tackles the challenging task of giving a unified picture of a large swath of Kant’s Critical philosophy by attending to the need for epistemic humility from the first Critique, drawing upon the primacy of practical reason and the importance of freedom in both the first and second Critiques, appealing to the anthropological task that Kant set for himself in the Jaesche Logic and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, exploring the implications of politics and history for the en…Read more
  •  153
    Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Shame: Methods, Theories, Norms, Cultures, and Politics (edited book)
    with Cecilea Mun, Dolichan Kollareth, Laura Candiotto, Daniel Richard Herbert, Alba Montes Sánchez, Lisa Cassidy, Mikko Salmela, and Julian Honkasalo
    Lexington Books. 2019.
    Shame is one of the most stigmatized and stigmatizing of emotions. Often characterized as an emotion in which the subject holds a global, negative self-assessment, shame is typically understood to mark the subject as being inadequate in some way, and a sizable amount of work on shame focuses on its problematic or unhealthy aspects, effects, or consequences. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Shame brings into view a more balanced understanding of what shame is and its value and social function. T…Read more
  •  63
    Guns as Lies
    The Acorn 17 (2): 119-141. 2017.
    Using Kant’s argument that lies are evil and reprehensible in themselves regardless of the benefits that may result, I show that guns can be understood in similar terms. In a unique reading of Kant’s radical and often ridiculed ideas, I maintain that lies have this status because of the way they pervert our relationship to the truth and thus to morality and reason. Lies turn truth and reason into mere means to be used rather than to be obeyed. Kant believes that the result is arrogance, insincer…Read more
  •  68
    The implied theodicy of Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason : love as a response to radical evil
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (2): 213-233. 2019.
    This article begins with a brief survey of Kant’s pre-Critical and Critical approaches to theodicy. I maintain that his theodical response of moral faith during the Critical period appears to be a dispassionate version of what Leibniz called Fatum Christianum. Moral rationality establishes the existence and goodness of God and translates into an endless and unwavering commitment to following the moral law. I then argue that Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason offers a revision of Kant’…Read more
  •  59
    Philosophical Anthropology and the Interpersonal Theory of the Affect of Shame
    Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 49 (1): 83-112. 2018.
    This article argues that shame is fundamentally interpersonal. It is opposed to the leading interpretation of shame in the field of moral psychology, which is the cognitivist, morally rationally, autonomous view of shame as a negative judgment about the self. That view of shame abandons the social and interpersonal essence of shame. I will advance the idea, as developed by the tradition of philosophical anthropology and, in particular, in the works of Helmuth Plessner, Erwin Straus, F. J. J. Buy…Read more
  •  293
    The thesis of this essay is that Kant's theory of the “forms of intuition” can be regarded as an account of the structure of our embodied perspective. The ideality and subjectivity of space is concluded to be an account of the perspective relative nature of the figure-ground relationship or how it is that objects emerge for us in empirical experience as being orientated in a spatio-temporal field. Time is regarded similarly as the event-series relationship. The significant role of embodiment in …Read more
  •  71
    This article argues against a leading cognitivist and moral interpretation of shame that is present in the philosophical literature. That standard view holds that shame is the felt-response to a loss of self-esteem, which is the result of negative self-assessment. I hold that shame is a heteronomous and primitive bodily affect that is perceptual rather than judgmental in nature. Shame results from the breakdown and thwarting of our desire for anonymous, unexceptional, and disattentive co-existen…Read more
  •  42
    This article argues that Hegel’s dialectic of wealth and power in the stage of social development called ‘culture’ (Bildung) reveals that even in moments of profound social alienation, Spirit (Geist)—the labor of constructing identity and freedom— remains. This stands in sharp contrast to Heidegger’s theory of alienation and Dasein’s ‘publicity’ (Offentlichkeit), which paints modern social existence as a profound threat to the very ‘Being’ and ‘possibilities’ of human life. The supposed threats …Read more
  •  35
    Irrationality and Self-Deception within Kant’s Grades of Evil
    Kant Studien 106 (2): 234-258. 2015.
    Scholars have failed to adequately distinguish Kant’s grades of evil: frailty (weakness of will), impurity, and depravity. I argue that the only way to distinguish them is, f irstly, to recognize that frailty is explicitly, practically irrational and not caused by any sort of self-deception. Instead, it is caused by the radical evil that Kant finds within the character of all persons. Secondly, impurity can only be understood to be self-deception either about the nature of the act itself, which …Read more
  •  134
    I use Kant's theory of the transcendental ideality of time to answer McTaggart's argument for the unreality of time. McTaggart's argument is that the atemporal C-series (the logical atoms of all moments) must be regarded as the metaphysical foundation of the B-series, the non-dynamic world of objective temporal relations of events being earlier or later than others. That B-series (having a qualitative aspect that is not indifferent to the direction of time) is essentially an ossification of the …Read more
  •  108
    The "sovereign individual" (hereafter, the SI) is almost universally held to be part of Nietzsche's positive ethical ideal.1 Focus on this isolated description at the start of the second essay of On the Genealogy of Morality results in a reconstruction of Nietzschean personhood and ethics based on the capacity to make and keep promises. For example, the SI has been used to understand us as "self-conscious beings capable of standing in autonomous ethical relations to ourselves" with a "fundamenta…Read more
  •  47
    Max Scheler never published a theory of art, but his aesthetics, like the rest of his thought, occupies an intriguing position that links early phenomenology, Catholic personalist thought, and philosophical anthropology. His metaphysics of the person and theory of value, when combined with his account of the lived-body and of our access to other minds through love, translates into a powerful, humanistic theory of art. This article elaborates what Scheler’s aesthetics would look like had he devel…Read more
  •  53
    Kant’s objection to the ontological argument in the first Critique is thought to be contained within the claim that ‘existence is not a predicate’. This article maintains that this ‘digression’ on existence is not Kant’s main objection. Instead, Kant argues within the first eight paragraphs of this fourteen paragraph section that there is no meaningful predication – either logical or real – without a synthetic, existential judgment concerning the subject of predication. Thus, the very subject of…Read more