Andrew Bevan

Research project: Passions before passivity, Actions after self-certainty: binding the philosophy and neurobiology of the affective turn


My thesis makes three claims:

1. Affect has been historically conceptualised as perturbing, quantitative, mechanistic discharges within coupled opposites governed by the active and passive. The underlying problem is an implicit dependence on past metaphysical change conceived as a togetherness of active and passive.

2. To overcome this I pursue two strategies:

a) in philosophy I demonstrate how affect derives largely from the Greek term πάθος which became dominated by its sense of being-acted-on from an outside. I uncover a sense prior to this ‘passivity' as implicit bindings of difference.

b) in neurobiology, I draw out how action is reconceived as manifestions of implicit bindings in the felt experience of error.

3. Change is then reconceived as the togetherness of implicit differences and error to produce an alternative, less violent discourse on affect.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Passions before passivity, Actions after self-certainty: binding the philosophy and neurobiology of the affective turn
  • Research supervisor: Ms Catherine Malabou
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Howard Caygill


My research interests centres on the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy. Having returned to University after a career in digital technology, I embarked on a trajectory that took me through English, Cognitive Science and then to Philosophy. I am particularly interested in the relation between the life sciences and continental philosophy and my PhD researches this intersection through the concept of affect.

Areas of research interest

  • Philosophy
  • Neuroscience
  • Phenomenology
  • Greek philosophy


  • BSc (Hons) in Managerial and Administrative Studies, Aston University
  • BA (Hons) in English, Birkbeck, University of London
  • MSc in Cognitive and Decision Sciences, UCL
  • MA in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University

Funding or awards received

  • AHRC TECHNE funded PhD student


  • 'The Plasticity of Empathy: A Materialist, Post-Phenomenological Critique of Einfühlung in Aesthetics, Phenomenology and Contemporary Neuroscience', in Thinking Catherine Malabou: Passionate Detachments, Edited by Thomas Wormald and Isabell Dahms, Rowman & Littlefield International, April 2018.
  • 'Refounding Philosophy with Self-Affection' in Towards a New Human Being, Edited by Luce Irigaray, Mahon O'Brien and Christos Hadjioannou, Palgrave, forthcoming.
Jump to: Thesis
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Bevan, Andrew (2019) Passions before passivity, actions after self-certainty : binding the philosophy and neuroscience of affects. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .

This list was generated on Sat May 18 05:23:30 2024 BST.

Conference papers

  • "On the limits of (neuro)plasticity: connecting plasticity with the affective turn'', 2017 SEP-FEP Joint Annual Conference, 4-6 September 2017, University of Winchester
  • ""Refounding philosophy from self-affection", Irigaray Conference: Genesis of a New Human Being, 9-10 June 2017, University of Bristol
  • "Reading affect and passion in Kant and Aristotle: toward a new materialism of affect", First Budapest Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy – Affectivity, 14-15 October, 2016, Institute of Philosophy, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary
  • "The Plasticity of Empathy: A Materialist Critique of Einfühlung from Aesthetics to Neuroscience", Passionate Disattachments: The Work of Catherine Malabou, February 5-6 2016, King's University College, London, Ontario, Canada
  • "Can we think affect outside of temporality? Reading Kant, Heidegger and Derrida for a new materialism of affect", 2016 SEP-FEP Joint Annual Conference, 25-27 August 2016, Regent's University, London