Skip to main content

Stefan Bird-Pollan

Research Interests:
Social & Political Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy

PhD Vanderbilt, 2008
D.Phi. Oxford, 2003
BA UC San Diego, 1996


Areas of Research:

Kant, Kant's theory of the subject and its relation to Kant's ethical theory

Hegel, Hegel's theory of the subject, Hegel's aesthetics and political philosophy

Aesthetics: the German Tradition in aesthetics from Kant to Adorno; philosophy of film/film aesthetic

Ethics, Kantian ethics

Critical Theory, especially Adorno, Benjamin and Marcuse

Psychoanlaysis, Freud, Lacan and Object Relations Theory

Political Philosophy: contemporary debates and history, 17th Century to the present.


Current Projects: 

I am interested in how theories of the subject are related to ethical theories. 

My first book, Hegel, Freud and Fanon; the Dialectic of Emancipation, on the Martiniquan social theorist and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, is a reconstruction of Fanon's theory of the subject through the work of Hegel and Freud. I show how Fanon's view of the subject preserves many important insights of the enlightenment while steering clear of the sorts of racial prejudices which are endemic in European and American society. 

I am currently working on a book in which I develop an account of Kant's ethical theory from the perspective of the theory of judgment as articulated in the first Critique. Taking Kant's theory of judgment as a starting point allows me to argue that, since for Kant judgment is always the representation of representation, moral judgment must be understood to be promted by our receptivity to feeling. This point of departure means that all duties are constructed in response to feeling. This also means that the categorical imperative is to be understood as the process or universalizing outwards, as it were, from a particular situation. 

My second project concerns works out the ideal metapsychological type of voters who are attracted to different kinds of authoritarian rule. I argue that what makes authoriarian rules (populists and others) attractive to such voters is that these leaders break with traditional representationalist politics in favor of seeming to give voters immediate access to power through identification with the ruler. 

In addition, I am working on several articles on Hegel, both his aesthetics and the Phenomenology of Spirt. I am also writing about Stanley Cavell. 

Courses I’ve taught at UK or expect to be teaching in the coming years:

Heidegger vs. Adorno

Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

Kant's Critique of Judgment

Philosophy of Psychoanalysis

Philosophy of Law

Kant’s Ethics

Rawls and his Critics

Anti-Realist Philosophy of Mind (Wittgenstein, Sellars, Rorty, Cavell, McDowell, Brandom)

Aesthetics, the German Tradition

Modern Political Philosophy

Kant’s Conception of Purposiveness

Idealism and Realism: from Kant to McDowell

Kant and Hegel on ethics and social theory

Hegelian Idealism 

Philosophy of Film 

Modern Philosophy (Descartes to Kant) 

Selected Publications:

·        “Populism, Liberalism, and the Eclipse of Emotion”, Populism, (Fall 2021) 

·        “The Place of the Unconscious in Systematic Critiques of Prejudice: Lessons from McKinnon and Critical Race Theory”, Philosophical Forum (2020): 377-98. 

·        “Hegel, Danto, Cavell, and the End of Art Thesis”, in Hegel’s Political Aesthetics (eds.) Bird-Pollan and Marchenkov. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. 

·      (ed.) Hegel’s Political Aesthetics. (with Vladimir Marchenkov) London: Bloomsbury, 2020.      

“Constitutive Tension, a Dialectical Account of Intersectionality”. Constellations, 27, (2020): 423-37. 

·      “An Anti-Realist View of the Moral Law”, in Nature and FreedomAkten des XII. Kant-Kongresses 2018. Berlin: de Gruyter.  

·      “Thinking Through the Negative; Adorno’s Reading of Hegel” in Creolizing Hegel, ed. Michael Monahan. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017.

·      “McDowell’s Two Readings of Kant” in Die klassische deutsche Philosophie und ihre Folgen. ed. Michael Hackl and Christian Danz. Vienna: Vienna University Press, 2017. 

·      “What Hegel Saw in Kant”, Hegel Jahrbuch. 2016:1.

·       “Fanon, Freud and Hegel; The Psychological Origins of Colonial Oppression”. in Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. (2016) 

·       “Taking People as People; Kant, Judgments of Beauty and Judgments of Morality”. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics. 5. (2013)

·       “Kant, Genius and Moral Development”. Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht. Akten des XI. Kant-Kongresses 2010. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013. vol. 4.

·        “Fanon, Colonialism and the Critical Ideals of German Idealism”. Critical Horizons. 13.3. (2012)

·        “Hegel’s Grounding of Intersubjectivity in the Master-Slave Dialectic”. Philosophy and Social Criticism. 38.3 (2012).

·       “Some Normative Implications of Korsgaard’s Theory of the Intersubjectivity of Reason”. Metaphilosophy. 42.4 (2011).

        “Rawls on Construction and Justification”. Public Reason, 1.2 (2009)