I was born in a small town in Germany called 'Wehrda', which is now part of Marburg an der Lahn. I grew up in Kirchzarten, a yet smaller town in the Black Forest close to Freiburg, which almost nobody has ever heard of. When I was 15 my family moved to Aachen, which, some might say, functioned as the capital of the western world around 800 AD. Needless to say, those days are over. There were some brief to medium length interludes in Bonn, which used to be the not very spectacular, temporary capital of (West-)Germany before the re-unification, where I studied philosophy and physics as an undergraduate, and in Oxford, where I was a visiting student for a year. A good chunk of the waking hours of the first two decades of my life were spent in chlorinated water, which is still a preferred environment for me.
I moved to the US in 1997 to pursue a PhD. in philosophy at Princeton, but really arrived in America only when I accepted a job at Notre Dame in Indiana in 2002. After almost a decade in the heartland, I decided that it was time to move a little bit closer to Europe again, and so I made my way back east, first to Pittsburgh where I stayed for 3 1/2 years, and eventually to New York City where I have been living happily ever since.
1997–2004 Princeton University, Ph.D. in Philosophy, January 2004.
Dissertation: Leibniz freed from every flaw: a Kantian reads Leibnizian metaphysics. Advisors: Béatrice Longuenesse and Bas van Fraassen.
Princeton, M.A. in Philosophy, 1999.
1995–1996 University of Oxford, St. Hilda’s College, Visiting Student, Physics and Philosophy.
1992–1997 Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, M.A. (Magister Artium) in Philosophy (major), Physics and Psychology (minors), 1997. M.A. thesis: Einbildungskraft bei Kant.
Primary Academic Appointments
Spring of 2015–present New York University, Associate Professor of Philosophy
2011–Fall of 2014 University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor of Philosophy
2004–2011 University of Notre Dame, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
2002–2004 University of Notre Dame, Instructor in Philosophy
2019–2020 Director of Graduate Studies, NYU Department of Philosophy
2016–2018 Director of Graduate Studies, NYU Department of Philosophy
2011–2014 Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, Secondary Faculty
2011–2014 Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, Resident Fellow
2005–2011 Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, University of Notre Dame, Faculty Fellow
2004–2011 Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame, Faculty Fellow
1998–2000 Princeton University, Student Assistant in Instruction
1993–1995 University of Bonn, Student Assistant
The World according to Kant —Things in Themselves and Appearances in Kant’s Critical Idealism, under contract with Oxford University Press.
What We Owe Other Animals, with Bob Fisher, under contract with Routledge in the series Little Debates about Big Questions, edited by Tyron Goldschmidt.
Articles and Chapters
“The Labyrinth of the Continuum: Leibniz, the Wolffians, and Kant on Matter and Monads,” in Karl Schafer and Nicholas Stang (editors), The Sensible and Intelligible Worlds: New Essays on Kant’s Metaphysics and Epistemology, New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming in 2020).
“Kant on the (alleged) Leibnizian misconception of the difference between sensible and intellectual representations,” in Brandon Look (editor), Leibniz and Kant, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming in 2020).
“Finite minds and their representations in Leibniz and Kant,” in Sally Sedgwick and Dina Edmundts (editors), Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus/International Yearbook of German Idealism (2019), 47−80.
“The synthetic nature of geometry, and the role of construction in intuition,” in Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca, and Margit Ruffing (eds.), Akten des XI. Internationalen Kant Kongresses 2010 in Pisa, Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter Verlag (2013), 89–100.
“Kant, the Leibnizians, and Leibniz,” in Brandon Look (editor), The Continuum Companion to Leibniz, London/New York: Thoemmes Continuum Press (2011), 289–309.
“Disentangling Leibniz’s views on relations and extrinsic denominations,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 48.2 (2010): 171–205.
“Leibniz on motion—Reply to Slowik,” The Leibniz Review XIX (2009): 139–147.
“Leibniz on motion and the equivalence of hypotheses,” The Leibniz Review XVIII (2008): 1–40.
“The modal strength of Leibniz’s principle of the identity of indiscernibles,” in Dan Garber and Steven Nadler (editors), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Oxford/New York City: Oxford University Press (2008), 191–225.
“Kant’s critique of the Leibnizian philosophy: contra the Leibnizians, but pro Leibniz,” in Dan Garber and Béatrice Longuenesse (editors), Kant and the Early Moderns, Princeton: Princeton University Press (2008), 41–63 (and 214–223 notes).
“Must Empiricism Be a Stance, and Could it Be One? How to Be an Empiricist and a Philosopher at the Same Time,” in Bradley Monton (editor), Images of Empiricism: Essays on Science and Stances, with a Reply from Bas van Fraassen, Oxford/New York City: Oxford University Press (2007), 271–318.
Entries on ‘Amphiboly’ and ‘Receptivity’, in The Cambridge Kant Lexicon, edited by Julian Wuerth, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).
Entries on ‘Anschauung a priori’, ‘Anschauung, formale’, ‘Rechnen’, ‘formal’, ‘Anzahl’, ‘Algebra’, ‘Addition’, ‘Erkenntnis, mathematische’, ‘Gerade’, ‘Linie’, ‘Anzeige des Lambertischen Briefwechsels’, ‘Lambert, Johann Heinrich’, in Kant-Lexikon, edited by Markus Willaschek, Jürgen Stolzenberg, Georg Mohr, and Stefano Bacin, Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter (2015).
“Review of Kant’s Moral Metaphysics, edited by Benjamin Lipscomb and James Krueger, de Gruyter, 2010,” in The Philosophical Review 122 (4) (2013): 651–657.
Thought and Cognition according to Kant—Our Cognitive Access to Things in Themselves and Appearances in Kant’s Critical Philosophy, monograph, for OUP.
Presentations (All presentations and talks are invited unless noted otherwise. Due to climate concerns, I have started to limit my academic air travel in recent years.)
"Kant's theory of cognition"
- Keynote Address, conference at the Cologne Center for Contemporary Epistemology and the Kantian Tradition, Universität Köln, Germany, June 11−12, 2020.
“How to be both a realist and an idealist Kantian style” (different versions)
- Philosophy Colloquium, Cornell University, November 30, 2018.
- Keynote Address, Creighton Club Meeting, Syracuse, November 3, 2018.
- Philosophy Colloquium, Brown University, February 23, 2018.
- Philosophy Colloquium, Wake Forest University, November 30, 2017.
- Philosophy Thursday Night Workshop, The New School for Social Research, December 3, 2015.
“Finite minds, cognition, and idealism in Leibniz, Kant, and beyond” (different versions)
- Joint Conference of the North American Kant Society and the Society for German Idealism and Romanticism, Stanford University, October 14–15, 2017.
- Philosophy Colloquium, Boston University, March 18, 2016.
- New York City German Idealism Workshop, Columbia University, April 24, 2015.
- Philosophy Colloquium and History of Philosophy Workshop, Johns Hopkins University, March 12, 2015.
“The Labyrinth of the Continuum: Leibniz, the Wolffians, and Kant on the Composition of Matter” (different versions)
- Keynote Address, 7th Annual New York City Workshop in Early Modern Philosophy, Fordham University, May 13–14, 2017.
- Philosophy Colloquium, Indiana University at Bloomington, February 24, 2017.
- (in German) Workshop in honor of Gerold Prauss, Universität Bonn, Germany, October 14–15, 2016.
“What am I doing? And why? A Dialogue Between Philosophy & English,” participant in a panel discussion moderated by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, New York University, March 1, 2017.
“The next big step in humanity’s moral progress: animal liberation,” Second Night of Philosophy and Ideas, Brooklyn Library, New York, January 28, 2017.
Comments on Robinson and Grey’s ‘Tracing Reason’s Arc: The Principle of Sufficient Reason from Leibniz to Kant’, Ninth Annual Conference of the Leibniz Society of North America, The Ohio State University, October 23–25, 2015.
“A place for monads in Kant’s theoretical philosophy,”
- Philosophy Colloquium, New York University, September 13, 2013.
- Early Modern Philosophy Workshop and German Philosophy Workshop, University of Chicago, May 17, 2013.
- Philosophy Colloquium, University of California at Berkeley, April 11, 2013.
“The synthetic nature of geometry—Prolegomena to a(ny) future interpretation of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics,” Conference at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh ‘Mathematics, Logic, and Method in Kant's Transcendental Philosophy’, April 13–14, 2012.
“Kant’s fictionalism and realism about things in themselves” (different versions)
- History of Philosophy Workshop, Harvard University, February 24, 2012.
- Session of the North American Kant Society, Eastern APA, Washington D.C., December 27–30, 2011.
- 45th Chapel Hill Colloquium in Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 4–6, 2011.
- Oxford University, January 31st, 2011.
“Kant’s conception of things in themselves: the two-entities view,” Workshop on Recent Work on Kant’s philosophy, University of Miami, Miami Beach, Florida, December 9–10, 2011.
“The synthetic nature of geometry, and the role of construction in intuition,” Eleventh International Kant Congress, Pisa, Italy, May 22–26, 2010 (submitted).
“How to think about things in themselves”
- Philosophy Colloquium, University of Pittsburgh, March 26, 2010.
- Philosophy Colloquium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, December 4, 2009.
- Philosophy Colloquium, Yale University, New Haven, December 4, 2008.
“Kant on the significance of Leibniz’s (alleged) misconception of the difference between sensible and intellectual representations"
- Oxford Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Oxford, UK, October 17–18, 2009.
- Joint meeting of the North American Kant Society and the Leibniz Society of North America, University of Kentucky, Lexington, September 25–27, 2009.
“Despite appearances to the contrary, Leibniz is not confused about motion”
- Symposium in honor of Paul Teller, University of California at Davis, October 17–18, 2008.
- New England Colloquium for Early Modern Philosophy, Harvard University, June 2005. (submitted)
“A last shot at Leibniz’s doctrine of the ideality and reducibility of relations,” Second Annual Conference of the Leibniz Society of North America, Princeton University, September 26–28, 2008.
“What is philosophy? Taking a stance between art, science, and religion,” Symposium in honor of Bas van Fraassen, Princeton University, May 16–18, 2008.
“The modal strength of Leibniz’s principle of the identity of indiscernibles,” Midwest Seminar for Early Modern Philosophy, University of Chicago, March 2007. (submitted)
Comments on Dan Garber, “In what sense are Leibnizian bodies extended?,” The Third NYU Conference on Issues in Modern Philosophy “Understanding Space and Time,” New York University, November 10–11, 2006.
Comments on Andrew Chignell, “Kant and the kinds of knowledge,” North American Kant Society, Central APA, Chicago, April 2006.
“Kant’s critique of Leibniz,” Conference on Kant and the early moderns, Princeton University, May 2004.
“Kant on space”
- Philosophy Colloquium, University of Kentucky, April 2004.
- Philosophy Colloquium, University of Illinois at Chicago, March 2004.
“Can a philosophical position consist in a stance?,” Symposium on Bas van Fraassen, The Empirical Stance, Pacific APA, Pasadena, March 2004.
“Chirality and Transcendental Idealism,” Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science, November 2003.
“The many functions of intuition in Kant and what to do with them,” Symposium on Kant’s philosophy of mathematics sponsored by the Association of Symbolic Logic, Eastern APA, Philadelphia, December 2002.
“The solitary hand–Kant on incongruent counterparts and the nature of space”
- Columbia University, February 2002.
- Duke University, February 2002.
- New York University, February 2002.
- Yale University, January 2002.
- University of Notre Dame, January 2002.
- University of Wisconsin at Madison, January 2002.
“Kant’s philosophy of space and time and modern science (up to the 1920s),” History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS) 2000 Conference, Vienna, Austria, July 2000. (submitted)
Scholarships, Grants, and Honors
2019– Fellow of the NYU Society of Fellows
2010 Travel grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame to attend the XI. International Kant Congress in Italy
2001–2002 Mrs. Giles Whiting Honorific Fellowship in the Humanities
1999–2001 Dissertation Fellowship, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Merit Foundation)
1998–1999 Fellowship for Studies Abroad (USA), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service)
1998 Santa Fe Institute Summer School for Complex Systems
1997–1998 Fellowship for Studies Abroad (USA), Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
1997–2001 Graduate Tuition Fellowship, Princeton University
1995–1996 Fellowship for Studies Abroad (UK), DAAD
1993–1998 Fellow of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
Introductory: Introduction to Philosophy; Honors Introduction to Philosophy; Honors Humanities Seminar I, from the Greeks to the Renaissance; Honors Humanities Seminar II, from the Renaissance to the Present; Texts and Ideas: ‘What is a good human life?’.
Intermediate: A Brief History of Space, Time, and Motion; History of Modern Philosophy.
Advanced: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Kant, Critique of Pure Reason; Rationalism (Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Leibniz); Animal Ethics; Existentialism and Phenomenology; Kant and Environmental Ethics (directed study).
History of the Philosophy of Science; Kant’s Philosophy of the Supersensible; Kant’s Early Critics; Kant and the Exact Sciences; Locke and Leibniz; Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation; Advanced Introduction to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason; Kant’s Critique of Judgment; Leibniz’s Metaphysics; Nietzsche (directed study); Wittgenstein and Idealism (directed study).
Doctoral Thesis Supervision
Brian Watkins, Good Taste: Pleasure and Practice in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, Notre Dame, 2010 (co-director with Karl Ameriks).
Joseph Zapeda, The Problem of the Vacuum in the Rationalist Tradition, Notre Dame, 2009 (co-director with Karl Ameriks).
Dissertation Committee Member
Caroline Bowman, Project on Hegel’s conception of freedom, NYU, ongoing.
Jenny Judge, Project on the representation of affective attitudes in music, NYU, ongoing.
Vera Flocke, Ontological Expressivism, NYU, 2019.
Tyke Nunez, Kant’s Formal Idealism the Synthetic a priori, and the Constitution of Objects of Experience, Pittsburgh, 2015.
Brandon Fogel, Epistemolgy of a Theory of Everything: Weyl, Einstein, and the Unification of Physics, Notre Dame, 2008.
Brian Pitts, General Covariance, Artificial Gauge Freedom, and Empirical Equivalence, Notre Dame, 2008.
Daniel McKaughan, Toward a Richer Vocabulary for Epistemic Attitudes, Notre Dame, 2007.
In the profession
Referee for Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, Epoché, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Leibniz Review, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy of Science, Oxford University Press, Atlantic Canada Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, and the National Science Foundation.
Member of the Executive Board of the Leibniz Society of North America (2010–2014).
Member of the program committee for the Central APA meeting in 2012 in Chicago.
Member of the program committee for Easter APA meeting in 2020 in Philadelphia, and 2021.
Inclusiveness Task Force (2015–16); Modern Philosophy Conference Organizing Committee (2015); Graduate Admissions Committee (2016–2017); Dissertation Fellowship Committee (2016); Inclusiveness Task Force (2016–17); Professional and Philosophical Development Committee (2016–17); Graduate Student Travel Committee (2016–17); Modern Philosophy Conference Organizing Committee (2016); Graduate Admissions Committee (2017–2018); MacCracken Working Group (Spring 2017); MacCracken Committee (Spring 2017); Bersoff Search Committee (Fall 2017); Dissertation Fellowship Committee (2017); Graduate Student Travel Grant Committee (2017–18); Modern Philosophy Conference Organizing Committee (2017); Third Year Review Alternatives Committee (Fall 2017); ABD Seminar Committee (Spring 2018); Curriculum Committee (Spring 2018); Graduate Student Travel Grant Committee (Spring 2018); Modern Philosophy Conference Organizing Committee (2018); Dissertation Fellowship Committee (2019); Modern Philosophy Conference Organizing Committee (2019); HIPPO (2019–2020); Graduate Student Travel Grant Committee (2019–2020); Graduate Admissions Committee (2019–2020).
Graduate Committee (2011–12; fall 2014); Search Committee (2011–12); Junior Search Committee (2013–14); Committee for improving Pitt's undergraduate program in philosophy (2013–14).
At Notre Dame
Search Committee (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009); Interviewing Committee APA (2002, 2006); Colloquium Committee (2003–2007); History Comprehensive Exams Committee (2007); HPS Steering Committee (2003–2005, 2007–2008); HPS Colloquium Committee (2003–2004); Honesty Committee (2005–2006); Faculty Advisor ND for Animals (2005–2011); European Philosophy Program Workshop Series Committee (2008–2011).
German (native language), English, Latin (reading), French (reading), Ancient Greek (reading).
Last updated: March 2019