Rosemin Keshvani

Research project: Thinking life through the third Critique: Kant and 'the feeling of life' [das Lebensgefühl]


My research investigates the sources of Immanuel Kant's notion of ‘the feeling of life' [das Lebensgefühl] and the implications of this concept for Kant's transcendental philosophy in informing the production of knowledge of nature and the possibility of a transcendental theory of life.

Kant's pivotal role in shaping the theoretical foundations of the life sciences in Germany during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the scientific context in which he practiced have gained fresh scholarly attention. Less understood, however, are how Kant's contributions into the life sciences through his work in law, natural philosophy and physiology systemically intertwine with his discovery of a transcendental method that would entirely reorient the practice of philosophy. By conceptualising all of nature, including life, and through his explorations into the conditions of possibility for life, Kant interrogated the limits of what may properly constitute knowledge natural philosophy and the life sciences. Yet, scholarly investigation into Kant's critique of life and his theory of life as organised and self-organising being, remain at an early stage of development. Moreover, Kant's later speculations in the Opus Postumum that attempt to think life as force continue to elude scholarly attention.

A sustained and systematic inquiry into Lebensgefühl will shed new light on Kant's project of unification in the Critique of Judgement and the final philosophical quest evident in his post-critical writings. By reframing Kant's transcendental philosophy in terms of Lebensgefühl, my research will investigate Kant's critique of the metaphysical foundations of a scientific theory of organic form and reframe Kant's entire project in terms of his investigations into ‘life', opening new avenues of philosophical inquiry that bear directly on contemporary European philosophy and theories on the emergence, organisation and normativity of life.


I am a solicitor and art historian with degrees in law, philosophy and art history. I work as a curator, archivist and writer. My practice is situated at the intersection of law, history, scientific discourses and the philosophy of art. I create exhibitions that reframe how we understand and approach the contemporary, exploring the dissonance between archive, law and myth to theorise the tension between art's role as cultural archive and its prerogative for poiesis and genius. I have published art historical volumes on conceptual art, contemporary sculpture and performance art and have also published on contract and family law. I have worked with Flat Time House, Bartha Contemporary, Zamana Space and Laure Genillard galleries in London as well as the ZKM Centre for Art and Media Technology in Germany and the Trondheim Kunstmuseum in Norway.

Areas of research interest

  • Kant, Romanticism, German Idealism, Post-Kantian philosophy
  • Epistemology, Natural Law, Jurisprudence
  • Evolution, Life Sciences
  • Art Theory and Aesthetics
  • Bergeson, Canguilhem, Bachelard, Neitzsche


  • Master of Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, CRMEP, Kingston University
  • Master of Letters, History of Art and Art-World Practice, University of Glasgow
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Toronto
  • Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy (Hons), University of Victoria


The Locked Room: Four Years that Shook Art Education (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2020)

Better Books - Art, Anarchy and Apostasy in Counterculture London (London: Koenig Books, September 2019)

Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy - at Tate Modern exhibition review in Art - The Imagined State (2018)

John Nixon - Various Paintings on Various Colours in Art - The Imagined State (March 2018)

Werner Schreib (exhibition catalogue, London : LG Publications, 2016) 

Adam Barker-Mill (London: Von Bartha Press, February 2016)

‘just-noticeable differences' in Adam Barker-Mill (London: LG publications, July 2014), 7-13

‘Gustav Metzger's Liquid Crystals' in Molecular Aesthetics (MIT Press 2013), P. Weibel and L. Fruk, eds.

Exploding Utopia (exhibition catalogue: London: LG publications, 2013)

‘The Role of Private Ordering in Family Law: A Law and Economics Perspective' in A.W. Katz, Foundations of the Economic Approach to Law (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press Inc., 1998) (with Prof. M.J Trebilcock)

Conference papers

Identity & Culture – curating exhibition spaces, International Portuguese Pavilion, Lisbon Oct 2018

Gallery Making & Re-making in the digital era: Electronic Superhighway at the Whitechapel, Ideas Digital Forum Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Canada Oct 2018

The only essential element in sculpture is time: John Latham's approach to sculpture Talk on Latham's philosophy of sculpture for the programme and exhibition - A Lesson in Sculpture with John Latham Henry Moore Institute, Leeds May 2016

From Beat to Concrete, the influence of poetry on British counterculture art, Burnt Poetry: Ivor Davies and Destruction / Creation in Art and Word University of Cardiff and National Museum of Wales Feb 2016

Activism or Art? - Art, Performance and Poetry for exhibition ‘Art, Anarchy and Apostasy for Better Books in London 1962-1967' Trondheim kunstmuseum, Norway Feb 2014

Creative Destruction in sculpture, Symposium on Pyrotechnic Sculpture Henry Moore Institute Nov 2013