Matheson Russell



I am a philosopher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

I studied as an undergraduate at the University of Sydney, where I developed a passion for French and German philosophy. After completing my PhD on the thought of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and publishing a book on the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, I came to the University of Auckland to take up a position as Lecturer in Philosophy.


My research career began with German phenomenology, Husserl and Heidegger, but over the past decade my philosophical interests have expanded to include critical theory, political theory, and, more recently, social epistemology. These days I’m mostly interested in understanding how social reasoning and political communication functions.

For instance, over the past couple of decades there has been a resurgence of interest in participatory democracy. But what should we expect democratic participation to look like? ‘Deliberative democrats’ believe that participation should look like a robust but respectful conversation. Yet we don’t see much robust and respectful conversation going on in the chambers of parliament, in the media, or in the streets. Should we conclude that our democracy is a sham? Or is something else going on in these political interchanges?

I have recently completed a book manuscript under contract with Edinburgh University Press, entitled Habermas and Politics: A Critical Introduction.

A list of my publications is available on and PhilPapers

Areas of research interest:
Critical theory in the Frankfurt School tradition, especially Jürgen HabermasPhilosophy of intersubjectivity and recognitionThe pragmatics of communicationSocial and political philosophy


I am teaching the following courses in 2019:

PHIL 103: Freedom, Rights and JusticePHIL 341: 20th-Century European PhilosophyPHIL 225/345: Power, Critique and Emancipation


m.russell [at]
+64 (0)9 923 3940

c/o Philosophy Department
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, New Zealand

Room 435, Humanities (Building 206)
14A Symonds St
Auckland, New Zealand