Junior Fellow: September 2018–August 2019
Research Project: From Anxiety to Boredom: Affective Scepticism and the Process of Secularisation
This project is a study of scepticism and secularisation which highlights their graded, intersubjective, emotional, and historical nature. It puts forth the argument that secularisation is an ongoing process involving an increase of scepticism and that this process has recently found expression in a transition, only observable from a broad interdisciplinary perspective, from anxiety to boredom, from one sceptical emotion to another which is more radical. Framed as a study of comparative secularity (rather than comparative religion), this project brings the writings of Kierkegaard and Heidegger, the relationship between which has often been understood in terms of secularisation, to bear on the interpretation of Spinoza’s philosophy, which has barely been systematically analysed from a Kierkegaardian perspective and even more rarely from a Heideggerian one. Bringing together the work of such apparently disparate thinkers, however, this project’s purpose is not only to contribute to the historical study of the relationship between religion and philosophy, but also to explore, in light of this comparative analysis, the theological foundations of our contemporary conceptions of emotions and mental health.
Avraham Rot has a PhD in intellectual history from Johns Hopkins University. He has been a junior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and at the Freie Universität Berlin. He currently teaches philosophy and intellectual history at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University.