Sebastian Luft, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy
I was born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1969. My youth and childhood were spent in Germany as well as the United States. I attended Elementary School and Gymnasium in Germany as well as Elementary and Junior High Schools in the States. I graduated with the Abitur (German High School diploma) in 1989 at the Carl-Benz-Gymnasium in Ladenburg (the school is named after Carl Benz, who built the first automobile and who lived there). My bad eyesight got me out of the then-obligatory military service.
I first enrolled in the University of Freiburg in 1989, where I majored in Philosophy and minored in German Philology and Classics. Yes, I did visit the Heidegger Hütte in my first semester.
In 1990 I switched to the University of Heidelberg, where I graduated in 1994 as a Magister Artium with a joint major in Philosophy and German Philology. And yes, as a befuddled young student, I ran into Gadamer a few times. Under Gadamer's successor Reiner Wiehl I wrote my M.A. thesis on Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations.
In the fall of 1994 I began my graduate studies at the University of Wuppertal under the tutelage of Klaus Held and was funded by a stipend of the German Research Foundation (DFG) as of 1995. I spent the 1996/97 academic year at the State University of New York at Stony Brook as a research fellow. I defended my PhD thesis on the problem of the phenomenological method in 1998 (with summa cum laude).
At the beginning of 1998, I took a post at the Husserl Archives at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. There, from 1998 until 2002, I prepared an edition of a volume in Husserl's collected works, the Husserliana. An edition of this type includes learning Husserl's 19th century shorthand, the “Gabelsberger” system, and in the case of my edition, selecting texts from Husserl's vast Nachlass and editing them in a historical-critical fashion. The volume I edited (Husserliana XXXIV) contains a collection of Husserl's late texts (from his “research manuscripts”) on the Phenomenological Reduction. To this day, I have a soft spot for this sort of editorial work, which I consider service to the profession, and I continue doing some of it.
In the summer of 2002 I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I assumed a two-year post-doctoral research position at Emory University, funded in part by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Emory University, where I also assumed teaching duties.
As of the academic year of 2004/05, I have been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2008 and to professor in 2015. Between 2009 and 2011 I moved back to Germany to take a 2-year sabbatical funded in part by Marquette University and the National Endowment of the Humanities.
In 2013, I took my Habilitation at the University of Würzburg. The Habilitation thesis is on the Philosophy of Culture as conceived by Cassirer. A revised version of this manuscript has appeared with Oxford University Press in 2015.
I have been so fortunate to teach as visitor at different universities. In the summer of 2007, I held a visiting professorship at the University of Graz, Austria; in the summer of 2008, I held a visiting professorship at the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan; and in the winter of 2009/10, I held a visiting professorship at the University of Freiburg. For the academic year 2015/16, I was appointed to a DAAD visiting professorship at the University of Paderborn (Germany), so I moved across the Atlantic once again! As of August 2016, I am back to teaching at Marquette.
I consider myself an offspring of the German tradition in philosophy, which is especially sensitive to the history of philosophy and all that this entails, but my work is informed and motivated by systematic problems formulated, among others, by phenomenology, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, anthropology and the philosophy of culture. My aim is to philosophize in a manner that is lucid, circumspect, and jargon-free.
* Photo: Charlotte Wagner.