Sebastian Luft, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy

 


Research Statement

 

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For a List of Larger Research Projects, click here.

See some publications of mine for download on the Raynor Memorial Library of Marquette (enter my name in the search window on the right).

Find also some of my work on my Academia page.

 

In characterizing my work, I define myself as a historian of philosophy with systematic interests in theoretical philosophy.  That is to say, I find myself agreeing with those who have moved beyond the old distinction between "continental" and "analytic" philosophy.  I believe that all philosophical problems have a certain history, both in the way they have been formed and have been handed down to us.  Ignoring this historical depth of philosophical problems is, I think, naive.  But I also believe that problems have their systematic dimension that cannot be reduced to their history.  In this sense, I admire the clarity and sharpness of many so-called "analytic" philosophers and attempt to emulate it.  So, while I was trained on the "continent," I am a bit hesitant to call myself a "continental philosopher," if this is to mean jargon-laden, deliberate obscurity, although the terms "analytic" and "continental" retain an institutional meaning. 

 

My current research interests are:

- Husserl and Husserlian phenomenology broadly construed.  With this I mean I am not (only) interested in Husserl exegesis, though there is a lot of work to be done in light of the new volumes in the Husserliana, which chart largely unknown territory.  Rather, I am interested in the themes of (not just Husserl's) phenomenology, such as method, theory of science, and constitutional issues (lifeworld, intersubjectivity, perception, attention, etc.).  I am also interested in bringing classical phenomenology in discussion with contemporary philosophy of mind.

- Kant and Classical German Philosophy, including neo-Kantianism.  Likewise, I am interested in the themes that these philosophers discussed, such as the nature of subjectivity, the problem of philosophical systematics, metaphilosophical issues (the idea of a "critique of critique"), language, the notion of critique, the a priori, etc., with an eye on how they influence contemporary philosophy.

- Philosophy of Culture.  Here I take my initial cues from Cassirer's philosophy of culture, but intend to develop some systematic themes from Cassirer.  For instance, to what extent does a philosophy of culture have to be "transcendental," what is the nature of the "transcendental" (or the "a priori"), how can a philosophy of culture work in tandem with cultural studies?  What exactly does "culture" mean (if not only "high" culture)?  I have been working in this area for some years, and I see significant filiations with phenomenology.  I am also interested in the interdisciplinary aspects of this project.

Didactics of Philosophy.  In Germany, a new academic discipine has been established lately, called "Fachdidaktik."  This is the pedagogical study of a certain subject as it is to be taught in High Schools.  Lately this concern has been expanded to what is called "Hochschuldidaktik," i.e., the same with respect to teaching a certain topic in the university setting.  While there is a lot of literature on general Hochschuldidaktik, there is little to nothing with respect to the specific subject of philosophy (contrary to the literature available on the topic in English).  I intend to explore this topic (in German) in the form of a monograph (to be published by Meiner).

* Picture:  Julia Lerius

 

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