CAP (Centre for Art and Philosophy) is an interdisciplinary research platform based at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Most of its members have been or are still working at the department as lecturers, researchers or affiliates.

Speculative Art Theory


The aim of this project is to explore the possibilities of the recent speculative turn in Continental philosophy for art history and art theory. After Kant's criticism of speculative reason, Nietzsche and Heidegger have heralded the so-called 'end of metaphysics'. Yet despite their criticism of 'onto-theology', metaphysical and ontological questions have all but lost their urgency. Against the grain of self-critical and self-reflexive (post)modern thought, recently there has appeared an amalgam of designs for a new speculative philosophy. Whether materialist, realist or constructivist, thinking the speculative necessarily seems to ward off this Kantian tradition (in particular the transcendental subject, the self-conscious unity of the 'I think' or its linguistic and/or technological mediations). As a consequence, it becomes possible to reconsider the status of the artistic object and its (non-)relation to thought.

Part of this project is a long-term research seminar in cooperation with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, taking place every three weeks at Witte de With's second floor exhibition spaces designed by Studio Miessen, usually on Mondays at 19h00. We read and discuss key texts by philosophers and art theorists and invite guest speakers such as Levi Bryant, Isabelle Stengers and Elisabeth von Samsonow. The reading group is open to anyone interested in and committed to philosophical thinking about art and art theory. If you want to join the sessions, please write a motivation to Please not that the number of places is limited.