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Andrew Huddleston

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy


Before coming to Birkbeck in September 2014, Andrew Huddleston taught at Oxford, where he was a Fellow of Exeter College. He studied as an undergraduate at Brown University and at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He then did his doctoral work at Princeton University, where he wrote a dissertation on Nietzsche under the supervision of Alexander Nehamas.

Andrew on Nietzsche and Nihilism.

Research Activity

  • I have recently completed Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture, a book manuscript, presently in press and due to appear later in 2018, focusing on Nietzsche's philosophy of culture. The standard story about Nietzsche’s philosophical development is that after first reposing his hopes in a broader culture, he, in his later work, comes to occupy himself instead with the fate of a few great individuals only. I question this individualist reading that has become prevalent, and I develop an alternative reading of Nietzsche as a more social thinker, whose sees collective cultural excellence as no less important. I use Nietzsche’s perfectionistic ideal of a flourishing culture, and his diagnostics of cultural malaise, as a point of departure for reconsidering many of the central themes in his ethics and social philosophy, as well as for understanding the interconnections with the form of cultural criticism that was part and parcel of his distinctive philosophical enterprise.
  • In parallel, I have a number of stand-alone pieces (published or forthcoming in journals and in edited volumes) on various other aspects of Nietzsche’s work: his views on nihilism, conception of psychic health, his views on the eternal recurrence, his historicist understanding of concepts, and his relevance for debates in contemporary ethics and meta-ethics, among other topics.
  • My next book project, Art's Highest Calling, combines my interests in post-Kantian philosophy and aesthetics. I undertake an investigation of an important theme in European aesthetics, from the late 18th century to the 20th century: namely, the idea that art might be a kind of religious substitute. During this heady time of aesthetic theorizing, increasingly ambitious claims get made for art’s metaphysical and spiritual importance, especially in the vacuum the "death of God" leaves behind. Art is thought, variously, to be able to provide a window on the Absolute, to re-enchant the world, to ‘justify’ existence, to grant life meaning and direction, and to provide nourishment for the soul. In one form or another, many key thinkers in this strand of thought have the idea that the best art is, if not a full replacement for religion, then in the same fundamental business. My study has an historical and a conceptual dimension: It explores the ways in which art has been presented (implicitly or explicitly) as a religious substitute, and it sheds light on how this could continue to inform our relationship to art, our understanding of its value and importance, and our understanding of what, in life outside of art, is of value and importance as well.


  • Andrew's publications include:
  • Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2019)
  • “Nietzsche on Nihilism: A Unifying Thread,” forthcoming in Philosophers’ Imprint
  • “Affirmation, Admirable Overvaluation, and the Eternal Recurrence,” Nietzsche on Morality and Affirmation, ed. Daniel Came (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
  • “Against ‘Egypticism’: Nietzsche on Understanding and ‘Defining’ Concepts,” Routledge Philosophy Minds: Nietzsche, ed. Paul Katsafanas (Routledge, forthcoming).
  • “Nietzsche” in Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy, ed. J.A. Shand (forthcoming, Blackwell).
  • “Nietzsche on the Health of the Soul,” Inquiry 60:2 (2017), p. 135-164.
  • “Nietzsche and the Hope of Normative Convergence,” Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity, ed. Peter Singer (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • “Normativity and the Will to Power: Challenges for a Nietzschean Constitutivism,” Journal of Nietzsche Studies 47:3 (2016), p. 435-456.
  • “Kunstreligion Redeemed: From Religion to Art in Parsifal,” Nietzsche und Wagner: Perspektiven ihrer Auseinandersetzung, ed. Jutta Georg and Renate Reschke (de Gruyter, 2016).
  • “What is Enshrined in Morality?: Understanding the Grounds for Nietzsche’s Critique,” Inquiry 58:3 (2015), p. 281-307.
  • “Hegel on Comedy: Theodicy, Social Criticism, and the ‘Supreme Task’ of Art,” British Journal of Aesthetics 54:2 (2014), p. 227-40.
  • “‘Consecration to Culture’: Nietzsche on Slavery and Human Dignity,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 52:1 (2014), p. 135-160.
  • “Nietzsche’s Meta-axiology: Against the Sceptical Readings,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22:2 (2014), p.322-43
  • “The Conversation Argument for Actual Intentionalism,” British Journal of Aesthetics 52:3 (2012), p. 241-256.
  • “Naughty Beliefs,” Philosophical Studies 160:2 (2012), p. 209-222
  • “In Defense of Artistic Value,” Philosophical Quarterly 62:249 (2012), p. 705-714.
  • A complete list of publications and CV are available here:

Research supervision

    Andrew is happy to supervise research students wanting to work on Nietzsche or on Aesthetics. He would also be willing to supervise students on certain other figures in Post-Kantian philosophy (particularly Hegel or Adorno), as well as on topics in ethics. Those with further questions should feel free to email him.