James Brusseau

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James Brusseau is a philosopher specializing in contemporary Continental philosophy, history of philosophy and ethics.[1] In 1994 Brusseau joined the faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the Mexican National University in Mexico City teaching graduate courses in philosophy and comparative literature. He has also taught in Europe and the California State University. Currently he teaches at Pace University in New York City.[2] Brusseau took a Ph.D. in Philosophy under the direction of Alphonso Lingis. He is married to a Spaniard and has two children.


Brusseau's scholarship focuses on philosophical decadence, which he defines as philosophers stepping aside from the task of making accurate theories about the larger world, and instead endeavoring to produce theories that in their turn provoke more theorizing. Within this framework, whether a philosopher is actually right about things becomes a secondary or derivative concern. The guiding purpose is to provoke more strictly philosophical discussion and study. As a result, the best philosophical idea directly equals the one producing the most subsequent philosophizing.

Brusseau attempts to locate decadence in the history of philosophy at Friedrich Nietzsche’s appropriation by recent French philosophers including Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida. He calls the moment a “reversal” in philosophy’s history, one where thought no longer exists to pursue truth, instead, truths exist to serve and accelerate thinking.[3]

It is unclear from Brusseau’s published work and lectures whether he considers this development to be negative, neutral or positive.

Philosophical ethics[edit]

Brusseau's Business Ethics Workshop[4] focuses on philosophical approaches to the corporation’s role in society, and ethical questions arising around branding and the creation of product reputation. The fabrication of consumer needs and consumer identity is also considered.[5]

Brusseau's Dignity, Pleasures, Vulgarity: Philosophy and Animal Rights[6] asks how animal studies reflect back to reveal human truths.[7]

The documentary Wealth Inequality Workshop[8] unites utilitarianism, Rawls, Nozick, Bataille and Deleuze to explore theoretical dilemmas of wealth inequality. Brusseau argues that the philosophies of Bataille and Deleuze can be mobilized both to allow and limit wealth inequality. [9] [10]


Brusseau's novel Empire of Humiliation is set in Mexico City.[11]