Dr Matheson Stuart Russell

BA(Hons) (Sydney), PhD (NSW), PGDipTheol (Oxford)

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Senior Lecturer


Matheson Russell studied as an undergraduate at the University of Sydney, where he developed a passion for French and German philosophy. After completing his PhD on the thought of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and publishing a book on the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, he came to the University of Auckland to take up a position as Lecturer in Philosophy.

Research | Current

Areas of research interest:

  • Critical theory in the Frankfurt School tradition, especially Jürgen Habermas
  • Philosophy of intersubjectivity and recognition
  • The pragmatics of communication
  • Social and political philosophy

My research career began with German phenomenology, Husserl and Heidegger, but over the past decade I have evolved into a critical theorist. These days I’m mostly interested in understanding how social and political communication works.

For instance, over the past couple of decades there has been a resurgence of interest in participatory democracy. But what should we expect democratic participation to look like? ‘Deliberative democrats’ believe that participation should look like a robust but respectful conversation. Yet we don’t see much robust and respectful conversation going on in the chambers of parliament, in the media, or in the streets. Should we conclude that our democracy is a sham? Or is something else going on in these political interchanges?

From 2013 to 2015 I was supported by a Marsden Grant for a research project entitled Recognition, Justice and the Christian Tradition. 

I am currently working on a book manuscript under contract with Edinburgh University Press, entitled Habermas and Politics: A Critical Introduction

Teaching | Current

I am teaching the following courses in Semester 2, 2017:

PHIL 103 Freedom, Rights and Justice
PHIL 225 / PHIL 345 Power, Critique and Emancipation

N.B. I am offering the following papers in alternate years: 

2017: PHIL 225 / PHIL 345 Power, Critique and Emancipation
2018: PHIL 221 / PHIL 341 Phenomenology and Hermeneutics
2019: PHIL 225 / PHIL 345 Power, Critique and Emancipation

I typically teach a Postgraduate paper (but not in 2017):

PHIL 758 European Continental Philosophy 2

Areas of expertise

  • Critical theory in the Frankfurt School tradition, especially Jürgen Habermas
  • Philosophy of intersubjectivity and recognition
  • Phenomenology and hermeneutics
  • The pragmatics of communication
  • Social and political philosophy

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Russell, M. (2017). Axel Honneth and Jacques Rancière, Recognition or Disagreement: A Critical Encounter on the Politics of Freedom, Equality, and Identity. K. Genel and J.-P. Deranty eds. [Book review]. Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy
  • Russell, M. S. (2016). Polemical Speech and the Struggle for Recognition. Parrhesia: a journal of critical philosophy, 26, 157-175. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32946
  • Russell, M. S., & Montin, A. (2015). The Rationality of Political Disagreement: Rancière's Critique of Habermas. Constellations: an international journal of critical and democratic theory, 22 (4), 543-554. 10.1111/1467-8675.12174
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32952
  • Russell, M. S. (2014). The Politics of the Third Person: Esposito's Third Person and Ranciere's Disagreement. Critical Horizons, 15 (3), 211-230. 10.1179/1440991714Z.00000000032
  • Sinnerbrink, R., & Russell, M. S. (2014). Black Swan: A History of Continental Philosophy in Australian and New Zealand. In G. Oppy, N. Trakakis (Eds.) A History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Various authors (2013). Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy - ASCP 2012 Special Issue. Related URL.
  • Russell, M. (2011). On Habermas's Critique of Husserl. HUSSERL STUD, 27 (1), 41-62. 10.1007/s10743-010-9080-8
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/7950
  • Russell, M. S. (2011). Philosophy of religion in a secular age: some programmatic reflections. In P. D. Bubbio, P. A. Quadrio (Eds.) The relationship of philosophy to religion today (pp. 2-25). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Contact details

Primary office location

New Zealand

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