Dr. Jan Slaby

Philosophical Outlook

My work spans the broad and shady area between the philosophy of mind, social philosophy and the philosophy of the (human) sciences. I'm in the process of developing a non-standard perspective in the philosophy of mind and personhood centered on agency and affectivity (enactivism, extended mind, phenomenology); I continue the development of a philosophical account of emotion and affectivity focusing on selfhood and affective disorders, but increasingly also on perspectives from 'affect theory', which I think can helpfully complement more classical philosophical perspectives on individual, intentional and culturally coded emotions; and  I moreover work on a critical science studies approach called "critical neuroscience" [link]. One broader aim in all this is to develop an account of the interfacing between individual mental and personal capacities and social and cultural superstructures, where it is crucial not to narrow the perspective to abstract theoretical considerations. Instead, I try to keep theoretical work informed by political and social concerns, working toward a ‘political philosophy of mind’.


I'm a big fan of academic cooperation. So far, I have been fortunate to be able to extend my mind in various directions by connecting with a great bunch of colleagues from different fields, and I am looking forward to expand my network of partners, particularly in Berlin's exciting research environment. Below, I have listed some of the people I work and/or interact with regularly with links to their websites.

I welcome correspondence and requests for cooperation. Of late, things have gotten rather busy here in Berlin. So please allow me some time until I respond to new proposals and inquiries.

Critical Neuroscience

Philosophy of Emotions

Philosophy of Mind - Cognitive Science

Research Cluster "Languages of Emotion"

Animal Emotionale

Colleagues in Marburg

Upcoming activities

  • May 21-22, 2015, Copenhagen, DK, Talk at the Workshop "Empathy, Group Membership and We-Intentionality", Center for Subjectivity Studies, Title: "Relational Affect"
  • June 10, 2015, Magdeburg, Guest Lecture in the Lecture Series 'Wissenschaftsphilosophie', Title: "Zwischen Experiment und Begriff"
  • June 13, 2015, Berlin, Free University, Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, Public Lecture: "Politik im Affekt" (Institute of Philosophy)
  • June 20, 2015, Münster, EOS-Klinik, Workshop 'Resilienz', Title: "Kritik der Resilienz"
  • June 25, 2015, Witten, Guest Lecture at University Witten-Herdecke, Title: "Continental Neurophilosophy"
  • July 06, 2015, Erlangen, Guest Lecture at University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Title: "Affektive Relationalität und Hintergrundgefühle"
  • July 15-17, 2015, Edinburgh, Talk at The Annual Conference of the European Society for the Philosophical Study of Emotion, Title: "Relational Affect"


I teach various courses usually belonging to the broad area of 'theoretical philosophy', including philosophy of science. One particular area of my interest is the philosophy of emotion and the interdisciplinary study of affectivity, another is the philosophy of mind with an emphasis on less conventional approaches such as new phenomenological conceptions, enactivism, extended mind and related themes. With several colleagues and students I have developed and taught a series of courses in the philosophy of neuroscience, covering methodological, technical and conceptual issues, but also aspects of the cultural and social situatedness of neuroscience, including adjacent areas such as psychiatry or some emerging neuro-plus-X-disciplines like 'neuropolitics'. The perspective we take here broadly belongs to the field of interdisciplinary science studies, sometimes going by the label “critical neuroscience”. I also like to teach Heidegger, Kant and Nietzsche.

Other activities

I used to work part-time as a TV commentator specialized on basketball for the sports network Eurosport, but I stopped that in 2009 to focus on my academic work. I covered three Olympic basketball tournaments and did EuroCup and EuroLeague games, as well as the Spanish, Greek and German Leagues. Sports broadcasting is great fun particularly if you love to talk a lot without thinking much – people that say the same of my philosophizing are ... probably right.

If I had more time, I would do more of the following: Spend more time with my girlfriend Laura, read more good novels, go fishing from time to time, learn how to cook better and practice it often, actually play some basketball myself, see my friends more, travel leisurely to the south and to big cities, and, not least, spend more time with my mom Clara.


  • Slaby, J. (2015). Critical Neuroscience Meets Medical Humanities. Medical Humanities 41(1). Late Draft [pdf]
  • Hoyer, A., & Slaby, J. (2014). Jenseits von Ethik. Zur Kritik der neuroethischen Enhancement-Debatte. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 62(5), 823-848. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Gallagher, S. (2015). Critical Neuroscience and Socially Extended Minds. In: Theory, Culture and Society 32(1), 33-59. OnlineFirst [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2015), Affectivity and Temporality in Heidegger. In: Marta Ubiali & Maren Wehrle (eds.). Feeling and Value, Willing and Action. Phaenomenologica 216. Dordrecht: Springer, 183-206. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2014), Empathy's Blind Spot. In: Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 17(2). Late draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2013). Gekommen, um zu bleiben: Emotionen in der Philosophie. In: Berliner Debatte Initial 24(3), 15-30.
  • Slaby, J., & Wueschner, P. (2014), Emotion and Agency. In: Todd, C., & Roeser, S., eds., Emotion and Value. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 212-228. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (in preparation). Against Empathy: Critical Theory and the Social Brain. Draft Manuscript, comments welcome [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Bernhardt, F. (2014). Der verblassende Glanz des Cogito. Ricœurs frühes Subjektdenken revisited. In: Creutz, D./Breyer, Th. (Hg.), Phänomenologie des praktischen Sinns – Die Willensphilosophie Paul Ricœurs im Kontext. München: Fink. Draft Manuscript, comments welcome [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2014), Sichtbarkeit des Geistes. Die Auflösung des Dualismus von Innerem und Äußerem. In: Ch. Barth/D. Lauer (Hg.), Die Philosophie John McDowells. Münster: mentis. Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2013), The New Science of Morality: A Bibliographical Review, in: The Hedgehog Review 15(1), March 2013, 46-54 [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., Paskaleva, A., & Stephan, A. (2013), Enactive Emotion and Impaired Agency in Depression. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20 (No. 7-8), 33-55. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2014), Emotions and the Extended Mind. In: Salmela, M., & von Scheve, C., eds., Collective Emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2013), Kritische Neuro- und Kognitionswissenschaft. In A. Stephan/S. Walter (Hg.) Handbuch Kognitionswissenschaft. Stuttgart: Metzler, 523-528. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2013), Die Objektivitätsmaschine. Der MRT-Scanner als magisches Objekt. In: K. Mertens/I. Günzler (Hg.), Wahrnehmen, Fühlen, Handeln. Phänomenologie im Wettstreit der Methoden. Münster: mentis, 473-497. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J./Stephan, A. (2012), Depression als Handlungsstörung, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 60(6), 2012, 919-935. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2012), Affective Self-Construal and the Sense of Ability, in: Emotion Review 4(2), 151-156. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2012), Unser liebstes Organ – oder: das Gehirn 2.0. In: Agora42, (Heft 3/2012), S. 36-41. [pdf]
  • Choudhury, S./Slaby, J. (eds. 2012), Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 1 - "Proposal for a Critical Neuroscience" [pdf]
  • Slaby, J./Haueis, Ph./Choudhury, S. (2012), Neuroscience as Applied Hermeneutics: Towards a Critical Neuroscience of Political Theory, In: F. VanderValk, Neuroscience and Political Theory (pp. 50-73), New York: Routledge. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2012), Emotional Rationality and Feelings of Being. In: J. Fingerhut/S. Marienberg, Feelings of Being Alive (pp. 55-77), Schriftenreihe Humanprojekt, Berlin: de Gruyter. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2012), Matthew Ratcliffes phänomenologische Theorie existenzieller Gefühle. In: A. Schnabel, & R. Schützeichel (eds.). Emotionen, Sozialstruktur und Moderne (pp. 75-91). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J./Stephan, A./Walter, H./Walter, S. (eds. 2011), Affektive Intentionalität. Beiträge zur welterschließenden Funktion der menschlichen Gefühle. Paderborn: mentis.
  • Slaby, J. (2011), Affektive Intentionalität – Hintergrundgefühle, Möglichkeitsräume, Handlungsorientierung, In: J. Slaby/A. Stephan/H. Walter/S. Walter, Affektive Intentionalität. Beiträge zur welterschließenden Funktion der menschlichen Gefühle. Paderborn: mentis 2011, 23-48. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2011), Perspektiven einer kritischen Philosophie der Neurowissenschaften, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 59(3), 2011, 375-390. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Heilinger, J.-C. (2013), Lost in Phenospace. Questioning the Claims of Popular Neurophilosophy, in: Metodo – International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy, 1(2), 83-100. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2011), "Möglichkeitsraum und Möglichkeitssinn. Bausteine einer phänomenologischen Gefühlstheorie", in: K. Andermann & U. Eberlein (eds.), Gefühle als Atmosphären, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, pp.125-138. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2010), "The other side of existence: Heidegger on boredom", in: Habitus in Habitat II – Other Sides of Cognition, edited by Sabine Flach, Daniel Margulies & Jan Söffner, pp. 101-120. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2010), "Eine Strukturskizze der menschlichen Affektivität" in: Rostocker Phänomenologische Manuskripte, ed. M.Großheim.
  • Slaby, J. (2010), "The Brain is what we do with it. Review of C. Malabou 'What should we do with our brain?'", Journal of Consciousness Studies 17, 235-240. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2010), "Steps towards a critical neuroscience" in: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9, 397–416. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2010) "Zur Idee einer Kritischen Neurowissenschaft", in M. Gerhard & C. Zunke (eds.), "Wir müssen die Wissenschaft wieder menschlich machen“ – Aspekte und Perspektiven der Naturphilosophie", Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 15-43.
  • Choudhury, S., Nagel, S. K., Slaby, J. (2009), "Critical Neuroscience: Linking Neuroscience and Society through Critical Practice", in: BioSocieties. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2009), "Gefühle im Neo-Existentialismus", in: B. Merker (ed.), Leben mit Gefühlen, Paderborn: mentis, 91-112.
  • Slaby, J. (2008), „How Emotional Feelings are Bodily and Intentional at the Same Time“, in: GAP-06-Proceedings, Paderborn: mentis.
  • Esken, F./Slaby, J. (2008), „Nicht-Begriffliches Selbstbewusstsein – ein sinnvoller Begriff?“, in: GAP-06-Proceedings, Paderborn: mentis.
  • Slaby, J. (2008), Gefühl und Weltbezug. Die menschliche Affektivität im Kontext einer neo-existentialistischen Konzeption von Personalität, Paderborn: mentis. Introduction [pdf]
  • Slaby, J./Stephan, A. (2008), "Affective Intentionality and Self- Consciousness", in: Consciousness and Cognition 17, 506-513. Full Article [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2008), "Affective Intentionality and the Feeling Body", in: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7(4), 429-444. Full Article [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2007), "Empfindungen. Skizze eines nicht-reduktiven, holistischen Verständnisses", in: Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 32.3, 207-225.
  • Slaby, J. (2007), "Emotionaler Weltbezug. Ein Strukturschema im Anschluss an Heidegger", in: H. Landweer (ed.), Gefühle - Struktur und Funktion, Berlin: Akademie, 93-112. Full Article [pdf]
  • Slaby, J./Katz, G./Kühnberger K.-U./Stephan A. (2006), "Embodied Targets, or the Origin of Mind Tools", in: Philosophical Psychology 19 (1), 103-118. [pdf]
  • # Slaby, J. (2004), „Emotionaler Inhalt“, in: Ausgewählte Beiträge zu den Sektionen der GAP 5, 5. internationaler Kongreß der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie, Bielefeld, 22.-26. September 2003, Paderborn: mentis, 460-469.
  • Slaby, J. (2004), "Nicht-reduktiver Kognitivismus als Theorie der Emotionen", in: Handlung, Interpretation, Kultur. Zeitschrift für Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften 13, 50-85.
  • Slaby, J. (2003), „Sklaven der Leidenschaft? Überlegungen zu den Affektlehren von Kant und Hume“, in: A. Stephan & H. Walter (eds.) Natur und Theorie der Emotion. Paderborn: mentis, S. 287-308. Proofs [pdf]