Professor of Philosophy; Director of Graduate Admissions

Interests: Hegel and German Idealism, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Literature, Philosophy of Religion, Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Agency

Professor Speight has been a Fulbright Professor at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (2012), Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin (2003), a fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, 1990) and a Fulbright Scholar at the Hegel Archive of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (1991-92). Professor Speight has twice won the Undergraduate Philosophy Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award and also received the College Honors Program Oustanding Teaching Award. Before coming to Boston University, Professor Speight taught at St. Xavier University of Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he chaired the university’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults.

Selected Publications


Hegel, Literature and the Problem of Agency (Cambridge University Press, 2001)

 Reviewed in:

  • Ethics 113,1 (October 2002): 176-9
  • Journal of the History of Philosophy 41,1 (January 2003):134-35
  • International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10,2 (May 2002): 228-232
  • Hegel-Studien 37 (2002): 225-27
  • Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 47/8 (2003): 105-114

    The Philosophy of Hegel (McGill-Queen’s University Press/Acumen, 2008)

    Reviewed in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (August 2008), Hegel Bulletin (August 2013)

    Hegel’s Heidelberg Writings
    (with Brady Bowman; Cambridge University Press, 2009, first translation published in CUP’s Hegel Translations series)

    Reviewed in: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (June 2010)

    Narrative, Philosophy and Life, ed. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014)

    Responsibility and Reconciliation in the Wake of Conflict, co-edited with Alice MacLachlan (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012)

    Religion, Politics and Political Theology, co-edited with Michael Zank (Dordrecht: Springer, 2017)

    Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and Philosophy, co-edited with Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge
    (Oxford University Press, 2020)

    The Future of the Philosophy of Religion, co-edited with David Eckel and Troy DuJardin (Dordrecht:  Springer, 2020)Justice.



    “Philosophy, Comedy and History:  Hegel’s Aristophanic Modernity,” Hegel on Tragedy and Comedy, ed. Mark Alznauer (SUNY Press, 2021)

    “Kant and Benjamin on Hope and History,” Kant and the Possibility of Progress, edd. Paul Wilford and Sam Stover (Cornell University Press, 2021)

    “Hegel and Existentialism,” The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism and Existentialism, ed. Jon Stewart (London:  Palgrave, 2020)

    “Religion in the Phenomenology of Spirit,” Oxford Handbook of Hegel, ed. Dean Moyar (Oxford University Press, 2017)

    “History, Imagination and the Narrative of Loss:  Philosophical Questions about the Task of Historical Judgment,” Art and Imagination, edd. Keith Moser and Ananta Sukla (Brill, 2020)

    “Philosophy, Romanticism and Literature,” Palgrave Handbook of German Romantic Philosophy, ed. Elizabeth Millán (New York:  Palgrave/McMillan, 2020)

    “Hegel on Poetry, Prose and the Origin of the Arts,” Palgrave Hegel Handbook, edd. Marina Bykova and Kenneth Westphal  (New York:  Palgrave/McMillan, 2020)

    “Art, Imagination and the Interpretation of the Age,” The Imagination in German             Idealism and Romanticism, edd. Gerad Gentry and Konstantin Pollok (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2019)

    “Art as a Mode of Absolute Spirit:  Hegel’s Encyclopedia Philosophy of Art,” Hegel’s Philosophy of Spirit:  A Critical Guide, ed. Marina Bykova (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2019)

    “Hegel on the Symbolic Form of Art,” G.W.F. Hegel:  Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Kunst:  Klassiker Auslegen, edd. Birgit Sandkaulen and Niklas Hebing (Berlin:  deGruyter, 2018)“Caricature, Philosophy and the ‘Aesthetics of the Ugly’:  Some Questions for Rosenkranz,” in Humor, Comedy, and Laughter in 19th-Century Philosophy, ed. Lydia Moland (Dordrecht:  Springer, 2018)

    “Philosophy and Literature in the Nineteenth Century,” article commissioned for The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Literature, edd. Noel Carroll and John Gibson (Oxford/New York: Routledge 2015)

    “Hegel and Aesthetics,” Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism, ed. Matthew C. Altman (New York:  Palgrave/MacMillan, , 2014)

    “The Narrative Shape of Agency: Three Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives,” in Narrative, Philosophy and Life (Dordrecht:  Springer, 2014)

    “Hegel’s Philosophy of Art,” Hegel: Key Concepts, ed. Michael Baur (, McGill University Press/ Acumen, 2014)

    “Tragedy and the Human Image: German Idealism’s Legacy for Theory and Practice,” The Impact of Idealism: The Legacy of Post-Kantian German Thought, general editors Nicholas Boyle and Liz Disley; volume editors Christoph Jamme and Ian Cooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013),

    “Artisans, Artists and Hegel’s History of the Philosophy of Art,” Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 34:2 (October 2013): 203-222.

    “On Re-reading Szondi: Schelling, Hölderlin and Hegel and the ‘Birth of the Tragic,’” in Mythos/Geist/Kultur, edd. Kerstin Andermann and Andreas Jürgens (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013), pp. 143-56.

    “The Wake of Conflict: Charting the Terrain,” Introduction to Justice, Responsibility and Reconciliation in the Wake of Conflict, co-authored with Alice MacLachlan (Boston Studies in Philosophy, Religion and Public Life (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012)

    “Conscientious Agency and the Life of Modernity: Remarks on Dean Moyar, Hegel’s Conscience,” Owl of Minerva: Journal of the Hegel Society of America (2012)

    “Arendt on Narrative Theory and Practice,” Arendt, Politics and Culture (College Literature, Special Issue) 38.1 (Winter 2011): 115-130

    “Hegel and Lukács on the Novel,” Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 62 (2010): 23-34

    “Hegel and the ‘Historical Deduction’ of the Concept of Art,” Blackwell Companion to Hegel, edd. Stephen Houlgate and Michael Baur (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011), pp. 353-368

    “Hegel on Narrativity and Agency,” Hegel on Action, edd. Arto Laitinen and Constantine Sandis (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010), pp. 232-243

    “Philosophy and Literature in the Eighteenth Century,” in Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy, ed. Aaron Garrett, 2014

    “Skepticism, Modernity and the Origin of Hegelian Dialectic,” Hegel and Dialectic, ed. Nectarios Limnatis (New York: Continuum, 2010)

    “Hegel and Aesthetics: The Practice and ‘Pastness’ of Art,” Cambridge Companion to Hegel and the Nineteenth Century, ed. Frederick Beiser (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

    “Hegel on Conscience and the History of Moral Philosophy,” Hegel: New Directions, ed. Katerina Deligiorgi (Oxford: Acumen Press, 2006)

    “Friedrich Schlegel,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

    “Butler and Hegel on Forgiveness and Agency,” Southern Journal of Philosophy 43: 2 (Summer 2005): 299-316.

    “‘Listening to Reason’: The Role of Persuasion in Aristotle’s Account of Praise, Blame and the Voluntary,” Philosophy and Rhetoric 38:3 (2005): 213-225.

    “Arendt and Hegel on the Tragic Nature of Action,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 28,5 (September 2002): 523-536.

    “The Beautiful Soul and the Language of Forgiveness,” in Die Metaphysik der praktischen Welt, edd. C. Jamme and A. Grossmann (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000), pp. 238-245.

    “The Metaphysics of Morals and Hegel’s Critique of Kantian Ethics,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 14,4 (October 1997): 379-402.

    Book Reviews

    Review, Alexander J. B. Hampton, Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion:  The Reconciliation of German Idealism and Platonic Realism in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (September 2019)

    Review, Christopher Yeomans: The Expansion of Autonomy: Hegel’s Pluralistic Philosophy of Action, in International Yearbook of German Idealism/Internationales Jahrbuch des deutschen Idealismus  (2018), pp. 277-281

    Review, Fred Rush, Irony and Idealism: Rereading Schlegel, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (May 2017)

    Review, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Art:  The Hotho Transcript of the 1823 Berlin Lectures.  Together with an Introduction by Annemarie Gethmann-Siefert, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (June 2015)

    Review, Dean Moyar, Hegel’s Conscience, in Mind (Sept 2014)

    Review, Benjamin Rutter, Hegel on the Modern Arts, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (April 2011)

    Review, Susan Songsuk Hahn, Contradiction in Motion: Hegel’s Organic Concept of Life and Value, in Philosophical Review 118:4 (October 2009): 555-58

    Review, John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer, and Luca Pocci, edd., A Sense of the World: Essays on Fiction, Narrative and Knowledge in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (January 2009)

    Review, Thomas A. Lewis, Freedom and Tradition in Hegel: Reconsidering Anthropology, Ethics and Religion, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (November 2005)

    Review, Peter Pesic, Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy and Literature, in Endeavour 27:1 (March 2003): 9-10.

    Review, Liam Murphy, Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory, in Review of Metaphysics (September 2002): 153-4.

    Review, John M. Cooper, Reason and Emotion: Essays on Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory, in International Journal of the Classical Tradition 9 (2002/3): 307-309.

    Review, Beat Wyss, Hegel’s Art History and the Critique of Modernity, in Owl of Minerva 33:1 (Fall/Winter 2001-2): 138-40.

    Review, Frederick Neuhouser, Foundations of Hegel’s Social Theory: Actualizing Freedom, in Owl of Minerva 33:1 (Fall/Winter 2001-2): 141-44.

    Review, Mark Roche, Tragedy and Comedy: A Systematic Study and a Critique of Hegel, in Owl of Minerva 32:2 (Spring 2001): 212-15.