Professor Nicholas Davey received his B.A. in History and Philosophy at the University of York, and both his M.A. and D. Phil in the History of Ideas at the University of Sussex. He also studied at the University of Tubingen. At York he studied with the Medieval historian Gordon Leff, at Sussex with the Intellectual Historian John Burroughs and at Tübingen with the philosopher Klaus Hartmann.
Professor Davey served as lecturer at the City University of London where he worked closely with the Dilthey translator Peter Rickman, as lecturer at Manchester University, as Senior Lecturer and Reader at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and as Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at the University of Dundee where he continues to work teaching and researching in Philosophy.
He is currently writing a book entitled Humanities in Question which looks at the Humanities from the perspective of hermeneutics and focuses on the processes of inter-action between humanities disciplines and the social and cultural significance of the productive spaces they generate.
Professor Davey is a member of the Scottish Centre for Continental Philosophy: http://scot-cont-phil.org/
Top tips for students
Before studying Philosophy, Professor Davey recommends that you:
- travel across Europe
- watch foreign films
- read as much literature as possible
- be curious!
Professor Davey teaches a variety of graduate and post-graduate courses on hermeneutics, aesthetics, Hegel and Gadamer, and specifically on the theme of 'The Hermeneutics of Practice'. He has a particular interest in inter-disciplinary teaching and counts three of his major achievements as the building of the B.A. scheme in Art and Aesthetics at Cardiff, the joint Art and Philosophy M.A. in Dundee and establishing the School of Humanities and its Arts and Humanities Research Institute within the University of Dundee. His current Honours modules are “Understanding. Dialogue and Interpretation” and “The Question of Vision in Art and Philosophy”.
Nicholas Davey’s overlapping areas of philosophical research involve the philosophical development of contemporary hermeneutics (the works of Gadamer, Vattimo and Iser), contemporary European aesthetics (the nature of meaning and interpretation in the arts), the philosophy of Nietzsche (the connections between philology, language and interpretation in his writings) and aspects of Buddhist Thought and Hermeneutics. Since 1989, he has been associated with the International Hermeneutics Seminar originally under the direction of Hans-Georg Gadamer firstly at the University of Heidelberg and then at the University of Freiburg. At the University of Dundee he established the Theoros and Hermeneutica Scotia research groups which meet annually. Nicholas Davey also established the Arts and Humanities Research Institute at the University of Dundee.
Professor Davey is a member of the Scottish Centre for Continental Philosophy: http://scot-cont-phil.org/
Nicholas Davey has successfully supervised M.Phil and Ph.D theses on Aesthetics and Art Education, Merleau-Ponty’s Aesthetics, Nietzsche’s Nihilism, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Barthes and Photography, Charles Taylor and Secularism. He is currently supervising work on Vattimo and would welcome research proposals in Aesthetics, Hermeneutics and both modern and contemporary European Thought.
AHRC funded studentships are available in my research area - more details
National and International Activities
Professor Davey has served as:
- Secretary and President of the British Society of Phenomenology and continues to serve on the Editorial Board of the Society’s journal
- Executive Board member of the British Society of Aesthetics
- Editorial Board member of the Nordic Journal for Aesthetics
- Editorial Board of Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik
- AHRC Peer Review College
- AHRC Strategic Advising Board
- AHRC Editor to the project Ideas that Shaped the World
- RAE Philosophy Panellist 2009/10
- REF Philosophy Panellist 2013/14
He is also involved in shared Hermeneutics projects at the University of Turin, Italy, and at the University of Ostrava, the Czech Republic.
Nicholas Davey has over a hundred published items concerning hermeneutics, aesthetics and Modern European Philosophy.
Books and Chapters
- “Gianni Vattimo”, in Routledge Companion to Continental Philosophy, ed. by S. Critchley (forthcoming 2013).
- “Hermeneutics: Between Faith and Reason”, Ben Vedders Festschrift, University of Nijmegen (forthcoming 2013).
- Unfinished Worlds: Hermeneutics, Aesthetics and Gadamer (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
- “Hermeneutical Aesthetics and an Ontogeny of the Visual”, in The Handbook of Visual Culture, ed. by Heywood and Sandywell (London: Berg, 2012), pp. 131-153.
- “Hermeneutics, Aesthetics and Religious Experience”, in Bible, Art, Gallery, ed. by Martin O Kane (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2010).
- “Hermeneutic Reasoning, Aesthetics and the Question of Design”, in Hermeneutic Rationality (International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology), ed. by Portocarrero, Umbelino and Wiercinski (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2012) pp. 43 – 50.
- “Hermeneutic Aesthetics and the Problem of the Imagination”, in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and the Art of Conversation (International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology), ed. by A. Wiercinski (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2011) pp. 339-351.
- “Hermeneutics, Art and Transcendence,” in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and the Art of Conversation (International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology), ed. by A. Wiercinski (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2011), pp. 371-382.
- “Getting the Measure: Language and Reasoning in Philosophical Hermeneutics”, in Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2011), 123 -142
- “Philosophy Research and the Quest for the Unpredictable”, in The Public Value of the Humanities, ed. by Jonathan Bate (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011), pp. 303-312 [see reviews in THES 24 March 2011, p. 29 and Financial Times, 24 February 2012].
- “Language and Reason in Philosophical Hermeneutics”, Studia Humanitatis: Ars Hermeneutica, 2011, 61-84
- “Philosophical Hermeneutics, An Education for All Seasons”, in Education, Dialogue and Hermeneutics, ed. by Paul Fairfield (London: Continuum, 2011), pp. 39-60.
- “Truth, Method and Transcendence”, in Consequences of Hermeneutics, ed. by Malpas and Zabala (Illinois: North Western University Press, 2010), pp. 25-44.
- “Written in Stone; Reflections on Word and Image”, in Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik, ed. by G. Figal (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2009).
- Essays on “Baumgarten,” “Aesthetic Relativism” and "Gilles Deleuze", in Blackwell Companion for Aesthetics, (London: Wiley-Blackwells, 2009), pp. 234-238 [the last was new and the first two were 1992 essays brought up to date].
- Hermeneutical Application: A Dialogical Approach to the Art Theory Question, in Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik, ed. G. Figal (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2008), pp. 93-107.
- “Gadamer and the Ambiguity of Appearance”, in Re-Discovering Aesthetics, ed. by Tony O’Connor (Columbia State University Press, 2008), pp. 147-162.
- “Doubled Reflection: Gadamer, Aesthetics and the Question of Spiritual Experience,” in Transcendence and Phenomenology, ed. by P. Candler and C. Cunningham (London: SCM, Press, 2007), pp.151-173.
- "Gadamer's Aesthetics", in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. by Edward N. Zalta (2007).
- “Twentieth Century Hermeneutics”, in Twentieth Century Philosophy, ed. by D. Moran (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 693-736.
- “The Transformation of Aesthetics”, in Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy, ed. by C. Boundas (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2007).
- “Hermeneutics, Aesthetics and Transcendence”, in Imaging the Bible, An Introduction to Biblical Art, ed. by M.O.Kane (London: SPCK), pp. 191-211.
- Unquiet Understanding: Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneneutics (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), 324 pp.
- “Gadamer”, in New Makers of Modern Culture, Volume 1, ed. by Justin White (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 546-547.
- “Tradition und Identität”, in Musik und Kulturelle Identität, Volume 1, ed. by Detlef Altenburg and Rainer Bayreuthe (Kassel: Baerenreiter-Verlag, 2006).
- “The Art Seminar Debate”, in Art History Versus Aesthetics (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 51- 91.
- “Was geht mich die Geschichte an? Art Practice and the Question of Historicity”, in Art in the Making, ed. by K. Mey (London: Peter Lang, 2005), pp. 15-36.
- “Drawn By The Open: Art Theory and Practice: A Dialogical Approach”, in Art in the Making, ed. by K.Mey (London, Peter Lang, 2005), pp.217-238.
- "Tradition Revisited: Conserving Difficulty", Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, ed. by A. Wiercinski (Toronto: The Hermeneutic Press, 2006), pp. 360-369.
- “Art and Theoria”, in Thinking Through Art:Art/Philosophy/Language, ed. by K.Macleod & L. Holdridge (London: Routledge, 2005).
- "The Enigma of Art", in Gadamer Verstehen/Understanding Gadamer, ed. by Mirko Wischke, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2003), pp. 232-247.
- "The Subject as Dialogical Fiction", in Radical Communications: Rethinking Interaction and Dialogue, ed. by Colin Grant (Kluwer, 2003), pp. 9-31.
- Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Aesthetics”, in Key Writers on Art, ed. by C. Murray (London: Routledge, 2002), pp.130-136.
- "Hermeneutics and Art Theory", in A Companion to Art Theory, ed. by Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde (London, Blackwells, 2002), pp. 437 - 447.
- “Between the Human and the Divine: On the Question of the In-Between”, in Between the Human and the Divine: Philosophical and Theological Hermeneutics, ed. by A. Wiercinski (Toronto: The Hermeneutic Press, 2002), pp. 88-97.
- “On the Other Side of Writing”, in Language and Linguisticality in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics, ed. by L. Schmidt (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2000), pp. 77-112
- “Mnemosyne und die Frage nach dem Erinnern in Gadamer’s Aesthetik”, in Hermeneutische Wege, ed. by G. Figal (Tubingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2000), pp. 35 – 62.
- "Signs of Faith: Gadamer on Authenticity, Art and Religion", in Performance and Authenticity in the Arts, ed. by S. Kemal (Cambridge, University of Cambridge Press, 1999) pp. 66 – 94 [Reprinted 2010].
- "The Hermeneutics of Seeing", in Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual, ed. by Ian Heywood and Barry Sandywell (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 3 - 30 (repr. in Chris Jenks, Culture, (London, Routledge, 2003)).
- "Nietzsche and Habermas on Subjectivity", in Nietzsche, Theories of Knowledge and Critical Theory: Nietzsche and the Sciences 1, ed. by B. Babich and R. S. Cohen (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999), pp. 295 – 306.
- "Introduction to Thus Spake Zarathustra", in Thus Spake Zarathustra (Oxford: Wordsworth Press, 1997), pp i-xxx.
- Seven essays on "Nishida", "Nishitani", "Vattimo", "Frank", "Marquard", "Nietzsche" and "Habermas", in A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Philosophers, ed. by Brown, Collinson, and Wilkinson (London: Routledge, 1996) p.248-249, 296-298, 516-517, 570-573, 573-574, 574-576, 806-808.
- "Beyond the Mannered: The Question of Style in Philosophy and Questionable Styles of Philosophy," in Style in Philosophy and the Arts, Cambridge Studies in the Arts, ed. by C. van Eck and R. van de Vall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp.177-200 [reprinted 2010].
- "Jürgen Habermas: Guardian of Modernity's Project", in Introduction to Modern European Continental Philosophy, ed. by J. Teichman (London: Macmillan, 1996), pp. 145-162.
- "Retrieving The Object: Reflections on Contemporary Cultural Problems Facing Artistic Practice", in Artists from Europe, ed. by Kevin O'Brian (Leeds: Leeds Metropolitan University Press, 1995), pp. 79-85.
- "On the Notion of Bildung", The Ernst Gombrich Festschrift, ed. by Richard Woodfield (Trent University/Warburg Institute, 1994).
- "Nietzsche and Hermeneutics", in Nietzsche and Modern German Philosophy, ed. by K. Ansell-Pearson (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 88-118.
- Essays on "Baumgarten" and "Aesthetic Relativism", in A Companion to Aesthetics, ed. by D. Cooper (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), pp. 40-41 and pp. 357-360.
- "Reply to Christopher Smith: An essay on Hermeneutics and Language", in Gadamer: Continental Philosophy, Volume 4, ed. by H. Silverman (Routledge, 1991), pp. 42-62.
- "Nietzsche, Art and Existence", in Proceedings of XI International Aesthetics Congress, ed. by R. Woodfield (Nottingham University Press, 1990), p. 32-37.
Refereed Journal Papers
- "Critical Excess and the Reasonableness of Interpretation", Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik (2013)
- "Aesthetic Reasoning: A Hermeneutic Approach", Nordic Journal for Aesthetics (2012/2013)
- "Philosophical Hermeneutics, Art and the Language of Art", Aesthetic Pathways, 1:1 (2010), 4-29
- "Hume i Nietzsche o jazni i tozsamosc", trans. by Dawid Misztal, Nowa Krytyka, 20-21 (2006), 149-172
- "Lest we Forget: The Question of Being and Philosophical Hermeneutics", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 40:3 (2009), 239-254
- "Editorial", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 40:3 (2009), 234-238
- "Tradition and Heritage: Conserving Difficulties", Slovenian Academy of Sciences online journal (2006)
- "On the Polity of Experience: Towards a Hermeneutics of Attentiveness", Renascence, 56:4 (2004),217 -234.
- "Aesthetic F(r)ictions", Journal of Visual Art Practice, 4:2&3 (2005), 135-149
- "Sitting Uncomfortably: Gadamer's Approach to Portraiture", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 34:3 (2003), 231-246
- “Arts Enigma: Adorno and Iser On Interpretation”, Existentia, 12:1-2 (2003), 155-168
- “Hermeneutics and the Challenge of Writing: Gadamer and Cixous on Speaking and Writing", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology”, 33:3,(2002), 299-316
- “Hermeneutics and Art Education", Disciplines, Fields and Change in Art Education, Soundings and Reflections, 4 (2003), 121-134
- "Nietzsche and the Tragic", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 31:1 (2000), 36-54
- "Writing and the In-between”, Word and Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry, 16:4 (2000), 378–386
- "Writing and the In-between”, Point, 7 (Spring/Summer 1999), 12 –18
- "On Beauty and Nearness: A Hermeneutic Reflection", Annales D'Esthetique, 36 (1998), 115-138
- "Nietzsche and Habermas on Subjectivity", New Nietzsche Studies: The Journal of the Nietzsche Society (1998), 61-84
- "Educative Passions", The Welsh Journal of Education, 6:1 (1997), 56-68
- "On Style in Philosophy", Silentium, 3 (1996), 39-53
- "On Theoria and Theoros in Aesthetics", Annales D'Esthetique, 34 (1995), 205-211
- "The Hermeneutics of Passion: Nietzsche and Gadamer on the Subjectivity of Interpretation", International Journal of Philosophy, 2:1 (1993), 45-64
- Aesthetics as the Foundation of Human Experience", Journal of the National Society for Education in Art and Design, 13:1 (1994), 72-83
- "Hermeneutics, Language and Science: A Critique of Gadamer's Distinction between Propositional and Discursive Language", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 24:3 (1993), 250-265
- Expressionist Aesthetics: A Response to a Predicament, Catalogue Essay and Foreword to the Buchheim Collection, Newport City Art Gallery (September 1991), 12-17
- "A World of Hope and Optimism Despite Present Difficulties; Gadamer's Critique of Perspectvism," Man and World, 23 (1990), 273-294
- "Nietzsche, Orientalism and Nihilism, Towards the Millenium Series, ed. by R. Gagola, Ikon Gallery Publications (November 1993).
- "Baumgarten's Aesthetics: A Post-Gadamerian Reflection", British Journal of Aesthetics, 29:2 (1989), 101-115
- "Nietzsche, The Self and Hermeneutic Theory", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 18:3 (1987), 272 - 284
- "Nietzsche and Hume on the Self and Identity", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 18:1 (1987), 14-29
- "Nietzsche's Aesthetics and the Question of Hermeneutic Interpretation," British Journal of Aesthetics, 26:4 (1986), 328-344
- "Habermas's Contribution to Hermeneutics", Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 16:2 (1985), 109-131
- "Nietzsche's Perspectivism", Journal for the British Society for Phenomenology, 14:3 (1983), 240-257 (repr. in Nietzsche, ed. by R.White, The International Library of Critical Essays in the History of Philosophy (London: Ashgate, 2002)
- "Nietzsche: Woher und Wohin", Editorial Essay for Special Nietzsche Issue of Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 14:3 (1983), 221-223.
- "Heidegger on Nietzsche's Der Wille zur Macht als Kunst," Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 12:3 (1981), 267-274