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Minicourses and conferences

Self-consciousness minicourse


Self-consciousness is often thought of as a characteristic theme of specifically modern philosophy. But how was self-consciousness understood prior to the seductive Cartesian account and what is the legacy of those earlier understandings? Join us for our minicourse.

Contact us for further information or if you have any questions about our events.


Every year we invite distinguished philosophers from around the world to give minicourses to our students.

These minicourses combine lectures and research seminars dedicated to specific philosophers and philosophical topics, and are open to all students within our School.

Recent contributors to our series include Professor Michèle Le Doeuff whose minicourse was called Metaphilosophy and sex equality, Dr Irene McMullin from the University of Essex whose course was called Existential Flourishing: A Phenomenology of the Virtues, and Professor Amy Allen from Dartmouth College, who gave a course called The Force of Reason: Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis.

Previous minicourses

Find out about the speakers and themes of previous minicourses:

  • Minicourses 1993 to 2017

    • Professor Frederic Worms, Critical Vitalism: philosophy, life and politics today, May 2017
    • Prof Dr Rahel Jaeggi, The Dialectics of Progress, October 2016
    • Prof Michele Le Doeuff, Metaphilosophy and Sex Equality, May 2016
    • Irene McMullin, University of Essex, Existential Flourishing: A Phenomenology of the Virtues, September 2015
    • Amy Allen, Dartmouth College, The Force of Reason: Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis, May 2015
    • Steven Crowell, Rice University, Phenomenology, Meaning, and Metaphysics, October 2014
    • Frederick Neuhouser, Columbia University, Three Conceptions of Social Pathology: Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, May 2014
    • Robert Stern, University of Sheffield, Themes from Løgstrup's The Ethical Demand, October 2013
    • Raymond Geuss, University of Cambridge, Philosophy: What? Why? How?, May 2013
    • Alain Badiou, Emeritus Professor, Philosophy Department, Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), Infinity as the duty of the poem, June 2012
    • Robert Pippin, University of Chicago, Philosophy by Other Means, May 2012
    • Axel Honneth, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Institut für Philosophie, Freedom's Right: An Outline of Democratic Ethical Life, June 2011
    • Alain Badiou, Emeritus Professor, Philosophy Department, Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), Philosophy between Art and Science, May 2011
    • Etienne Balibar, Paris X Nanterre and Irvine California, Citizen, Subject and the Anthropological Differences, May 2010
    • Robert Stern, Univiersity of Sheffield, Extended departmental seminar: Kant’s Ethics: Realist or Constructivist?, March 2009
    • Hubert Dreyfus, University of California, Berkeley, Distinguished Lecture: Virtual Embodiment: Myths of Meaning in Second Life, June 2008
    • Hans Sluga, University of California, Berkeley, The Concept of the Political in an Age of Uncertainty, May 2008
    • Simon Critchley, New School and Essex University, Originary Inauthenticity, June 2006
    • Robert Bernasconi, Memphis University, War and the Meaning of History, May 2005
    • Simon Critchley, New School and Essex University, Things Merely Are: Poetry as Philosophy in the Work of Wallace Stevens, June 2004
    • Francois Dastur, Vanderbilt University, Research seminar: Merleau-Ponty's Interpretation of Husserl, February-March 2004
    • Hubert Dreyfus and Mark Wrathall, University of California and Brigham Young University, Heidegger's Ontology of Art, November 2003
    • Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame, Impoverished Moral Discourse, Insoluble Philosophical Problems, May 2003
    • James Conant, University of Chicago, Varieties of Skepticism, March 2002
    • Henry E. Allison, Boston University, Lecture: 'The Critique of Judgement' as a 'True Apology for Leibniz'; Research Seminar: Kant's treatment of the Sublime, March 2001
    • Jay Bernstein, Vanderbilt University, Research Seminar: Re-Enchanting Nature: Reflections on McDowell and Adorno, May 2000
    • John McDowell, University of Pittsburgh, Distinguished Lecture: Naturalism and the Philosophy of Mind; Research Seminar: Michael Friedman's 'Exorcising the Philosophical Tradition', March 2000
    • Henry Staten, Ethics after Nietzsche (Second session given as a public lecture), February 1999
    • Hubert Dreyfus, University of California, Berkeley, Heideggerian themes in Foucault: The self, history and ontology, February 1998
    • Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley, The psychic life of power: Theories in subjection, May 1997
    • Garbis Kortian, University of Applied Art, Vienna, Hegel's concept of experience and its discontents, February 1997
    • Christoph Menke, FU Berlin, Aesthetic subjectivity, May 1996
    • Francoise Dastur, Universite de Paris XII, Philosophy and difference, February 1996
    • Robert Pippin, University of Chicago, Nietzsche on/against/within the philosophical tradition, February 1995
    • Rudi Visker, KU Louvain, In search of the other: Levinas and Merleau-Ponty on meaning and sense, November 1994
    • Stanly Cavell, Harvard, What did Derrida want of Austin?, February 1994
    • Rudi Visker, KU Louvain, How to split Rorty between irony and finitude, May 1993
    • Axel Honneth, FU Berlin, A formal theory of the good life: Three forms of recognition, February 1993


MA courses

MA courses

Our MA courses offer in-depth study of a range of specialisms including critical theory, phenomenology and classical German philosophy, and are an excellent preparation for PhD study.

PhD study

Postgraduate research study

By undertaking PhD study at Essex, you will become a member of an exciting and active research community, and benefit from the expert supervision of our internationally recognised staff.

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Ethics of Powerlessness

Ethics of Powerlessness

The Ethics of Powerlessness project aims to clarify ethical challenges of experiences of powerlessness, especially in palliative and end-of-life care situations, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).