Mats Rosengren

Since October 1, 2014, I hold the chair of Rhetoric at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University. I am a member of the editorial board of Glänta and of the board of the Swedish Ernst Cassirer Society.

My main interests lie in the fields of theory and history of rhetoric, epistemology and theory of science, French philosophy, cave art and artistic research. I have written on Plato, Montaigne, Chaim Perelman, Cornelius Castoriadis, Ernst Cassirer and Gilles Deleuze.

My latest major work is a study focusing on the discovery of paleolithic cave art and the development of the discipline cave ‘art studies’, seen from a doxological perspective: Cave Art, Perception and Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). For the moment I am working on a book on Cornelius Castoriadis’ philosophy.

I am also a translator, mainly of French philosophy, and an editor, most notably of the now completed Logos/Pathos series at Glänta Produktion.

I am currently working on broad project, adressing issues related to what I call social meaning. This project currently includes two books, one in Swedish tracing the construction, meaning and political and epistemic use of the social imaginary signification prehistory; one in English dealing with Ernst Cassirer and Cornelius Castoriadis as theoricians of social meaning.

Doxology – a rhetorical approach to epistemology

Since 2002 I have been working on developing an ‘other’ take on epistemology. I have chosen to call his epistemic stance doxological in order to emphasise that all knowledge is doxic knowledge, thus turning the seminal Platonic distinction between doxa (beliefs, opinions) and episteme (objective, eternal knowledge) upside down.

Protagoras dictum advocating man as the measure of all things is, perhaps, the most poignant expression of a doxological position, stating explicitly that no apprehension escapes the human-related conditions of knowledge alluded to in Protagoras’s fragment. Departing from the pivotal question “What would a Protagorean position imply for epistemology today?”, I develop a critique of the purely discursive notion of knowledge, still central in Anglo-Saxon epistemology. I emphasize the fact that our knowledge is always embodied, in ourselves as biological beings as well as formulated and/or preserved in some language, institution or ritual; practiced and upheld by one or many individuals, always in one historical moment or other and within the admittedly diffuse framework of an ever changing but still specific social situation. Doxology is not a relativism abandoning all claims to objectivity or science – far from it – but an attempt, in the wake of the serious and fundamental criticisms of the late 20th century, to readdress and reconsider what knowledge, science and objectivity could be today. Nor is doxology a teaching about apparent or illusory knowledge, but about situated, variable and interested knowledge. In short it is a teaching about how we actually do create the knowledge that we need – in science as well as in life. In my publications on doxology I have tried to formulate and develop a concept of knowledge taking heed of all these factors. First introduced in 2002, this concept, doxology, has now become wildly used within the social and human sciences in Scandinavia.

Contact information:

Selected publications:

The list below is only a representative selection. For more information, see the attached List of Publications.


2015monographPsychagogia – konsten att leda själar. Om konflikten mellan retorik och filosofi hos Platon och Chaïm Perelman , 2nd edition; [new editor]. Åstorp: Retorikförlaget
2012monographCave Art, Perception and Knowledge. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Mats Rosengren

Under the heading ‘Une rhétorique élargie’, Mats Rosengren gave a lecture on Cave Art at Collège de France on April 27, 2017.
2011monographDoxologie – essai sur la connassiance. Paris: Hermann. French translation of Doxologi, en essä om kunskap.

Mats Rosengren

Under the heading ‘Une rhétorique élargie’, Mats Rosengren gave a lecture on Doxology at Collège de France on April 20, 2017.

Rosengren gave a Keynote speech on "Facts, truth and objectivity today" at the MCAA conference in Salamanca, Spain, March 25, 2017. Read the Keynote here: Facts, truth and objectivity today.
2010monographDe symboliska formernas praktiker – Ernst Cassirers samtida tänkande [The practices of symbolic forms – Ernst Cassirer’s topical thought]. Göteborg: Art Monitor Essä.

Mats Rosengren

Watch Mats Rosengren give a speech on his book about Ernst Cassirer.
2006monographFör en dödlig, som ni vet, är största faran säkerhet. Doxologiska essäer [And you all know, security is mortal’s chiefest enemy. Doxological essays]. Åstorp: Retorikförlaget Rhetor förlag.
2002monographDoxologi – en essä om kunskap [Doxology – an essay on knowledge]. Åstorp: Rhetor förlag.


2012Les émigrés Grecs et leur influence sur le débat intellectuel Français, eds. Servanne Jolivet, Christophe Premat and Mats Rosengren. Paris: Éditions Le Manuscrit.
2007Embodiment in Cognition and Culture, eds. John Krois, Mats Rosengren, Angela Steidele and Dirk Westerkamp. Amsterdam: John Benjamin’s Publishing Company.
2003Penelopes väv. För en filosofisk och teologisk pathologi [The cloth of Penelope. For a philosophical and theological pathology], eds. Mats Rosengren and Ola Sigurdson. Göteborg: Glänta Produktion.


2008Politics of Magma, Art Monitor# 5, Special Issue, Sept 2008. Editing and article.
2003Cornelius Castoriadis, Res Publica 58, May 2003. Editing, article and translations.
2002Den mytiska ön [The mythical island], Res Publica 55, June 2002. Editing, article and translations.
2001Vårt mytiska förnuft [Our mythical reason], Res Publica 51, May 2001. Editing and article.

Articles, chapters and research reports

2015A Philosophical-Anthropological Case for Cassirer in Rhetoric (with Erik
Bengtson), submitted to Rhetorica A Journal of the History of Rhetoric, July 2015.
2015Vad kan konst? In Språk och oförnuft - konstens kunskap, kunskapens konst, eds.
William-Olsson and Magnus. Jelgava: Ariel Litterär kritik [7].
2014Tezis Protagora: doksologicheskaja perspektiva [Doxologi – en essä om kunskap], trans. from Swedish by Dmitry Vorobyov and Kristina Ankerhjerte. In Voprosy filosofii, 5/2014, 171—178.
2014Sanning, seende, kunskap – produktionen av vetenskaplig kunskap sedd ur ett retoriskt, doxologiskt perspektiv. In Vetenskapsretorik: hur vetenskapen övertygar och övertalar. Göteborg: KVVA.
2014Retorik, retorikvetenskap och social mening. In Retorisk kritik – teori och metod i retorisk analys, eds O. Fischer, P. Mehrens and J. Viklund. Ödåkra: Retorikförlaget.
2014Social mening – en retorisk fråga. In Rhetorica Scandinavica, # 65, 8-24.
Read abstract
2014Magma. In Cornelius Castoriadis: Key Concepts, ed S. Adams. Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing.
2013Walk the line. In What is Theory, ed. Hervé Corvellec. Stockolm: Liber, 2013.
2012Making sense – Cassirer, Castoriadis and the embodied production of meaning. In Bodies in Action and Symbolic Forms, eds. Horst Bredekamp, Marion Lauschke and Alex Arteaga. Berlin: Actus et Imago-series, Kolleg-Forschergruppe Bildakt und Verkörperung.
2012Cave art as symbolic form. In Ernst Cassirer on Form and Technology: Contemporary Readings, eds. Aud Sissel Hoel and Ingvild Folvord. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
2012K voprosu o doxa: jepistemologija «novoj ritoriki» [On doxa – the epistemology of the New Rhetoric"], trans. from English by Dmitry Vorobyev. In Voprosy filosofii, 6/2012, 63–72.
2012True and False Chaos – the mythical origins of Creation. In Les émigrés grecs et leur influence sur le débat intellectuel français, eds. Lambros Couloubaritsis Servanne Jolivet, Christophe Premat and Mats Rosengren. Paris: Éditions Le Manuscrit.
2011On doxa – the epistemology of the New Rhetoric. In Scandinavian Studies in Rhetoric - Rhetorica Scandinavica 1997-2010, eds. Kjeldsen and Grue. Ödåkra: Retorikförlaget publishing, 156-167.
2011Doxology – for a contemporary protagoranism. In catalogue of the exhibition Fetish Modernity, eds. Anne-Marie Bouttiaux, Anna Seiderer and Noemi Del Vecchio. Tervuren: Museum for Central Africa, Belgium.
2009Art+Research ≠ Artistic research (Bilingual - English and German text). In The Difference between Art and Art Research across the Disciplines, eds. Corina Caduff, Fiona Siegenthaler and Tan Wälchli. Zürich Yearbook of the Arts, vol. 6 2009.
2008The magma of Imaginary Politics – 8 theses. In Politics of Magma, Art Monitor #5, Special Issue, 2008.
Read article
2008The Cave of Doxa – Reflections on Artistic Research and on Cave Art. In Art Monitor #4. Gothenburg: Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg.
Read article
2007On creation, cave art and perception – a doxological approach. In Thesis 11, vol. 90, #1.
Read abstract
2007Radical imagination and symbolic pregnance – a Castoriadis Cassirer connection. In Embodiment Rediscovered, eds. John Krois, Mats Rosengren, Angela Steidele and Dirk Westerkamp. Amsterdam: John Benjamin’s Publishing Company.
2007En kommentar till Michael Biggs [A commentary to Michael Biggs]. In Art Monitor #1. Gotheburg: Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, Göteborg University.
2005On being downstream. In The Past’s Presence. Essays on the historicity of philosophical thought, eds. Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback and Hans Ruin. Huddinge: Södertörn Philosophical studies 3, Södertörns Högskola.
2004Rhetoric - A Theory Of Knowledge? Sketch for a doxological development of Chaïm Perelman’s new rhetoric. In Chaim Perelman: Direito, Retórica e Teoria da Argumentação, ed. Eduardo Chagas Oliveira. Bahia: Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Brazil.
2003Den ohörda tanken, den slumpartade formuleringen och den nytänkta idén [The unheard thought, the accidental formulation and the fresh idea]. In Penelopes väv. För en filosofisk och teologisk pathologi, eds. Mats Rosengren and Ola Sigurdson. Göteborg: Glänta Produktion.
2003Skapelse ur intet [Creation out of nothing]. In Res Publica 58, May 2003.
2003Traditionen – att den inte finns [The tradition – that it does not exist]. In Hermeneutik och Tradition: Gadamer och den grekiska filosofin, eds. Nicholas Smith and Hans Ruin. Huddinge: Södertörn Philosophical studies 1, Södertörns Högskola.
2002Repetition och rörelse [Repetition and movement]. In Res Publica 55, 2002.
2002Analogt skapande – en metafor [Analogical creation – a metaphor]. In Dialoger, 61, 2002.
2001Grottbilder [Cave-images]. In Res Publica 53, 2001.
2001Retoriken - en kunskapsteori? [Rhetoric – a theory of knowledge?]. In Vetenskap och Retorik - en gammal konst i modern belysning, ed. Kurt Johannesson. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur.