Dr Daniel Whistler

Personal profile

I am the Philosophy Co-ordinator and the Programme Lead for our UG programmes here at Royal Holloway, as well as for the Politics, Philoophy and Economics programme. Do email me if you have any questions about any of these or general queries to the Philosophy team.

I joined Royal Holloway in September 2017, having previously been Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool and completed my DPhil in 2011 at the University of Oxford on F.W.J. Schelling's theory of language. In 2014-6, I undertook a 2-year fellowship at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, where I worked on late eighteenth-century philosophy, and in 2017-18 I am a EURIAS Fellow at ENS Lyon, researching Franco-German intellectual exchange in the 1830s, particularly the controversy between Schelling and Victor Cousin. I am currently leading an AHRC network on the place of plants in the philosophy of nature.

Research interests

I research mainly on the history of philosophy: German Idealism, its origins and aftermath, as well as nineteenth-century French philosophy. In regard to the former, following the publication of Schelling's Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity by Oxford University Press in 2013, my research has tended to focus on Schellingian Naturphilosophie, as well as further investigations into his philosophy of language. I run the UK Schelling Network; and with Benjamin Berger, I have a book of translations and commentaries  with Edinburgh University Press, entitled, The Schelling-Eschenmayer Controversy, 1801: Nature and Identity, as well as a textbook of Schelling's writings: The Schelling Reader (Bloomsbury). I am currently leading an AHRC project in the philosophy of nature past and present, called The Philosophical Life of Plants.

I have also been working concertedly over the last few years on translations and a monograph on the philosophy of François Hemsterhuis, the late eighteenth-century Dutch thinker who was so influential on Jacobi, Novalis, the Schlegel brothers etc. The translations (with Jacob van Sluis) are being published by Edinburgh University Press in late 2020 in three volumes under the title, The Edinburgh Edition of the Philosophical Works of François Hemsterhuis. The monograph is concerned specifically with the turn to dialogue and myth in Hemsterhuis' later work and is provisionally entitled, 'Hemsterhuis and the Writing of Philosophy'.

Over the few years, I have developed a sustained research interest in nineteenth-century French philosophy, especially varieties of eclecticism at the period, what this means for doing history of philosophy, and also the development of Victor Cousin's philosophy. I currently engaged in a project on Cousin's relation to German Idealist thought during the late 1820s and early 1830s and have published a number of articles on his conception of a metaphysical empiricism and his eclectic practice. Oxford University Press have commissioned me to produce some translations of Cousin's early for publication in 2022 and am also co-editing with Mark Sinclair The Oxford Handbook to Modern French Philosophy.

I also research on more recent European philosophy, particularly continental philosophy of religion, and have been interested in the concept of the secular for a number of years and its relation to abstraction, indifference and utopia. I have published extensively on how the secular is represented imaginatively in modern literature (Hölderlin, Mann, Cendrars, Pamuk etc). I have worked closely with Daniel J. Hill at the University of Liverpool on a series of AHRC projects to consider the relation between philosophy of religion and social issues, particularly legal cases concerning the uses of religious symbols. This resulted in a 2013 monograph published by Palgrave, The Right to Wear Religious Symbols, as well as some more recent research on religious harm that is in the pipeline. I have also recently edited The Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Theology which came out in November 2017.

For more of a sense of my research, see further the various project and publication websites listed below:

(a)    Publications: https://royalholloway.academia.edu/DanielWhistler

(b)   The Cousin-Schelling Controversy (EURIAS Fellowship, 2017-18): http://www.2018-2019.eurias-fp.eu/fellows/daniel-whistler

(c)    UK Schelling Research Group (British Academy Project, 2016 -17): http://schelling.org.uk/

(d)   Hemsterhuis and the Writing of Philosophy (Humboldt Fellowship, 2014-6): https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/humanities-and-social-sciences/research/expertise/archive/daniel-whistler/

(e)    Philosophy and Religious Practices (AHRC Project, 2012-14): https://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

(f)    Philosophy of Religion and Religious Communities (AHRC Project, 2012): http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/documents/project-reports-and-reviews/connected-communities/philosophy-of-religion-and-religious-communities/

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