Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


PhD student in the History of Ideas and Sciences since September 2016. My primary research interests include pragmatism, Anglo-American Idealism, historical theory and the history of historical thought. My dissertation is a study of John Dewey and R. G. Collingwood's attempt to provide a defence of humanist culture in the face of a crisis of modernity associated with tendencies such as the separation of value spheres, fragmentation of experience, alienation and individualism.

My master’s thesis at Stockholm University used a theoretical approach inspired by the pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty to study debates on historical theory and epistemology among Swedish historians between 1965 and 2015. I have previously studied various cultural sciences and have written bachelor's dissertations in philosophy and comparative literature covering issues on identity, trauma, memory, and the relationship between historiography and fiction.


About the research

Unifying Experience studies the thought of the American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952) and the British philosopher and historian Robin George Collingwood (1889-1943). Their philosophies are interpreted as "quests to unify experience" in order to highlight Dewey and Collingwood’s relation to the idealist tradition in philosophy, which is used in different ways in their thought. This perspective is helpful for understanding what challenges and problems Dewey and Collingwood sought to solve. They were both engaged in many of the societal, cultural, and intellectual challenges of their time, including the decline of religion, the questioning of rationality and the new views on human subjectivity, the birth of modernist aesthetics, the problems of increasing individualism, the emerging trends in philosophy, and the social and political upheavals that came with the two world wars.

Collingwood and Dewey’s holistic and unifying take on experience is related to their emphasis on the practicality of knowledge, and to how they treat certain individual modes of experience, such as religious and aesthetic experience. Apart from interpreting, contextualizing and comparing their philosophies, this thesis also aim to actualize their thought by using their philosophies as a way to enter into a discussion on the relation between idealism and poststructuralism; language, experience, and reality; and between the specific challenges and questions their philosophies aimed to answer, and how these compare to contemporary challenges. Might Dewey and Collingwood’s views on practice, unity, and experience inspire any intellectual perspectives that could be valuable today?

Keywords: John Dewey, Robin George Collingwood, experience, idealism, practical knowledge, intellectual history, history of philosophy

Research portal (Lund University)


Bruno Hamnell

Doctoral Student
Division of History of Ideas and Sciences
Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences

Contact information

E-mail bruno.hamnellkultur.luse

Room C:356

Visiting address Helgonavägen 3, Lund

Postal address Box 192, 221 00 Lund

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