Dr. Brient received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1995 and taught at Yale University and Boston College before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia in 2000.
Her theoretical grounding is in continental philosophy and the history of western philosophy. Her primary interests lie in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy (especially German), late medieval mysticism and Neoplatonism, and metaphysics of the infinite. In recent years her research has focused on the nature of the epochal transition from the late medieval to the early modern age. Her interest, here, is not purely historical. Rather, her work on the epochal transition aims at illuminating contemporary efforts at self- and world-understanding. She is particularly interested in philosophical readings of this transition, which either implicitly or explicitly serve to provide existential orientation for the present age. Hannah Arendt and Hans Blumenberg are important figures of interest in this context.
Her current research revolves around the theme of “radical beginnings” in human lives. She is concerned here with radical beginnings in both individual human lives (what Arendt has termed human “natality”) and the much broader cultural-historical context of epochal transition. She is especially interested in the temporality associated with the emergence of the radically new. Here, as in her earlier work, she is interested in basic philosophical issues concerning the relationship between the one and the many, parts and wholes, and the infinite and the finite.
Important publications include:
The Immanence of the Infinite: Hans Blumenberg and the Threshold to Modernity, 2002.
“Blumenberg Reading Cusanus: Metaphor and Modernity,” in Erinnerung an das Humane: Beiträge zur phänomenologischen Anthropologie Hans Blumenbergs, 2011.
"How can the infinite 'measure' the finite? Three Mathematical Metaphors from De docta ignorantia," in Cusanus: The Legacy of Learned Ignorance, 2006.
"Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa on the 'Where' of God," in Nicholas of Cusa and His Age: Intellect and Spirituality, 2002.
"From Vita Contemplativa to Vita Activa: Modern Instrumentalization of Theory and the Problem of Measure," International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2001.
"Hans Blumenberg and Hannah Arendt on the 'Unworldly Worldliness' of the Modern Age," Journal of the History of Ideas, 2000.
"Transitions to a Modern Cosmology: Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa on the Intensive Infinite," Journal of the History of Philosophy, 1999.