I am currently working on a book provisionally entitled The Human Remains: French Philosophy in the Image of God. The first part of the book looks at the ways in which the imago dei motif is explicitly taken up in contemporary French thought. The second, longer part takes debates from the philosophical reception of the imago dei motif and uses them to provide a fresh comparative reading of contemporary French philosophical anthropology in its humanist, post-humanist, neuroscientific and ecological guises. Chapters discuss Catherine Malabou, Paul Ricoeur and Jean-Pierre Changeux, Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean-Luc Marion and Michel Serres. The book’s thesis is that the human persists in contemporary thought, however radically altered its trace might be from traditional philosophical understandings. In order to argue that point it shows how reading contemporary thought through the lens of the imago dei motif helps us see how very different accounts of the human can be made to talk to and critique one another.
My research is in the field of modern and contemporary French thought, in particular the relation of that thought to theological questions and to atheism.
I have published on Jean-Luc Nancy, Paul Ricœur, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux and Jacques Rancière, and in addition I have a particular interest in the thought of Bruno Latour and Michel Serres.
Thematically, my research has focused primarily on atheism and religion, with links to the themes of equality and the figure of the human being.
I welcome inquiries from postgraduate students for supervision in any of the above areas.
- How art can create a new future: Stephen Zepke’s Sublime Art forthcoming in the Crosscurrents seriesI am delighted to report that Stephen Zepke’s Sublime Art is nearing publication, with the cover now being proofed. How art can create a new future Sublime art exceeds the present. It is an undetermined expression that in coming into being creates new universals, new modes of life and new coefficients of freedom. Stephen Zepke tracks this movement from ... Read more
- My project to write a critical introduction to the thought of Michel Serres continues to advance, and one small piece of the extensive Serresian jig-saw puzzle is of course the distinctive way in which he approaches ecological questions. A couple of years ago I was delighted to be approached by Daniel Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus to ... Read more
- In this new series of posts I want to ask a question that is simple enough to pose: “what is a theological concept?” The question comes out of lines of inquiry I opened up in Difficult Atheism but wasn’t able to bring to a conclusion, as well as from reflections I have been pursuing since ... Read more
- In a previous post I introduced the very idea of Diagramming Derrida before explaining his notion of différance diagrammatically. In this post I set out to tackle the idea of “messianicity without messianism” and, more generally, Derrida’s characteristic motif of “x without x”, for example “religion without religion” or “God without God”. Messianism as Derrida understands it can be ... Read more
- Here is news of an exceptional event in Melbourne, with Marcel Gauchet on democracy, crisis, and–no doubt–Trump: 27 th January 2017, Time: 6.30 pm. RMIT University, City Campus School of Business and Law lecture theatre Building 13 Level 3 Room 9 Address: 379-405 Russell St, Melbourne. Map Event blurb: This event is part of the French Festival of Ideas (La Nuit des Idées), ... Read more
- At this year’s Australasian Society of Continental Philosophy conference I had the pleasure of responding to Gregg Lambert’s new book Return Statements: The Return of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy. I chose to focus on the very idea of the “return of religion”, its multiple senses, and their potential conflicts. The paper is downloadable from academia.edu and ... Read more
- Pleasant surprise waiting for me at work this morning: Catherine Malabou’s Before Tomorrow to review for @NDPReviews. I worked with the French for the two chapters on Malabou in French Philosophy Today, and I’m looking forward to the translation. Read more
- I’ve just learned that French Philosophy Today will shortly join Difficult Atheism on Edinburgh Scholarship Online. This, I hope, will come as good news to at least some of those who have been in touch with me about the price of the hardback edition. Read more
- The latest issue of Derrida Today includes a review of my Difficult Atheism by Christina Smerick. You can read the whole review online for free here. Watkin’s thesis is bold and unapologetic, and shapes the path of his reading and thinking with intense focus. His main concern, bordering on a battle cry, is that the ground gained by atheism is ... Read more