Simon May

Simon May

Simon May is visiting professor of philosophy at King’s College, London, and at Birkbeck College, University of London.

His interests lie in ethics, philosophy of the emotions, questions of identity and belonging, and German 19th and 20th Century thought, especially the work of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger. He is also a devotee of the aphoristic form. His monographs include Nietzsche’s Ethics and his War on “Morality” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Love: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011); Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), and The Power of Cute (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019).

He is editor of Nietzsche’s “On the Genealogy of Morality”: A Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2011), to which he contributed a paper entitled “Why Nietzsche is still in the morality game”; and co-editor, with Ken Gemes, of Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy (Oxford University Press, 2009), for which he wrote a paper entitled “Nihilism and the Free Self”.

Outside academic philosophy he has written op-ed articles for newspapers such as The Washington Post and the Financial Times, as well as a book of his own aphorisms, Thinking Aloud: A Collection of Aphorisms (Alma Books, 2009), which was named a Financial Times Book of the Year. A selection of his aphorisms is included in Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists, published by Bloomsbury. His work has been translated into ten languages and has been reviewed in major publications all over the world.


The Power of Cute by Simon May

The Power of Cute by Simon May explores the growth of cuteness which has taken the planet by storm. Global sensations Hello Kitty and Pokémon, the works of artists Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, Heidi the cross-eyed opossum and E.T.—all reflect its gathering power. But what does “cute” mean, as a sensibility and style? Why is it so pervasive?