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Personal profile

Research interests

  • Phenomenology
  • Existentialism
  • Kierkegaard
  • Jan Patočka
  • Stanley Cavell
  • Philosophical Poetics
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Environmental Ethics


Erin welcomes enquiries from research students interested in working in any of these areas. 



Erin Plunkett is senior lecturer in Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. She is currently researching the ontology and ethics of possibility in Kierkegaard and Jan Patočka. She is the editor of Living in Uncertainty: Kierkegaard and Possibility (2023). She is also  editor, along with Ivan Chvatik, of The Selected Writings of Jan Patočka: Care for the Soul (2022), a reader of key essays from the Czech phenomenologist. 

Erin’s book A Philosophy of the Essay: Scepticism, Experience, and Style (Bloomsbury, 2018) draws from continental and analytic sources to argue for the philosophical relevance of style, making the case that the essay form is uniquely suited to address the sceptical problem and the limits of human knowledge. 

Erin studied Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at Indiana University before pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at Royal Holloway University of London. She joined the Hertfordshire faculty in 2018.

Erin’s research reflects her interdisciplinary background. She considers the relationship of form to thought, particularly how genre and style inform what philosophy is able to say and what is considered philosophically relevant. She has pursued these questions in her contributions to three edited volumes in essay studies: Essay at the Limits (2021) and the Ediburgh Companion to the Essay (2022), and the Cambridge History of the British Essay (forthcoming)

Particular research interests are phenomenology, post-Kantian philosophy, Kierkegaard and existentialism, and the work of Stanley Cavell. Reasearch topics include possibility, anxiety, despair, beginnings, world (in phenomenology), receptivity, communication, and freedom. Other areas of interest include: European Romanticisms, philosophy of religion, feminist philosophy, environmental ethics, and philosophical approaches to literature.

Education/Academic qualification

Philosophy, PhD, Coming to Terms: Scepticism and the Philosophical Essay, Royal Holloway, University of London

1 Oct 20113 Mar 2016

Award Date: 3 Mar 2016

Religious Studies, MA, The Romantic Influence in Kierkegaard’s ‘Concept of Irony’, Indiana University (IU)

30 Aug 20041 May 2008

Award Date: 1 May 2012

Comparative Literature, MA, The Romantic Influence in Kierkegaard’s ‘Concept of Irony’, Indiana University (IU)

30 Aug 20041 May 2008

Award Date: 1 May 2012

Comparative Literature, BA, ‘Me, Krapp’: Existential Identity in Krapp’s Last Tape, Indiana University (IU)

30 Aug 199931 May 2003

Award Date: 31 May 2003

External positions

External Examiner, University of Western England

8 Aug 20229 Aug 2026


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