Interdisciplinary Research on Emotions in Neuroscience and Philosophy

Dr. Jan Slaby



Dr. des. Jan Eric Slaby, M.A.; born in 1976; currently working as Post Doc Researcher in the project „animal emotionale“;

1996-2001 studies of Philosophy (Major), Sociology and English Language & Literature at Humboldt University Berlin, 2001 M.A. in Philosophy, Master Thesis (in German) Evolution, Mind and Human Nature. A critical assessment of the Research Program of Evolutionary Psychology;

2001 to 2006 research and teaching assistant of Prof. Achim Stephan at the Institute of Cognitive Science (IKW) at the University of Osnabrück (Working Group “Philosophy of Cognition”); extensive teaching experience, from 2003 onwards autonomous teaching in Philosophy of Mind, seminar topics include “Intentionality”, “Philosophy of Emotion and Feeling”, “Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind”, and “Mental Representation” (most of my teaching has been and is in English);

I’ve published some papers on aspects of philosophical emotion theory, however, most are in German so far. See “Publications” below.

March 2006: Submission of my Doctoral Dissertation Gefühl und Weltbezug. Die menschliche Affektivität im Kontext einer (provisorischen) Konzeption der personalen Existenz. (In German); English title: Feeling and World-Directedness. An Account of Human Affectivity within a Neo-Existentialist Approach to Personhood.

June 2006: Successful Thesis Defence.

Current work and philosophical outlook: Besides working on an account of human-level affective intentionality within our research project, I’m trying to extend work done in my Dissertation to a social context. Human affectivity, as well as human intentionality overall, is essentially a social affair. To spell this out in a sane way is a non-trivial task, particularly given the fact that most contemporary approaches to the human mind are openly or tacitly Cartesian – i.e., assume as their starting point the individual mind and its monadic relations to the outer world. I plan to include work done in the field of sociology of emotion within my philosophical account. In general, I try to undo some of the damage scientific division of labour has done to philosophy of mind by explicitly including perspectives from various disciplines: Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology, History, Cultural Studies – to name just the most important ones. My overall philosophical outlook is that of the historically and socially sensitive critical thinker, broadly (well, very broadly) in the tradition of the Frankfurt School.

Personal website



Selected Publications:


Links to published papers are to late drafts.

  • Slaby, J. (2003), “Sklaven der Leidenschaft? Überlegungen zu den Affektlehren von Kant und Hume”, in: A. Stephan & H. Walter (Hg.) Natur und Theorie der Emotion. Paderborn: Mentis, S. 287-308.
  • Slaby, J. (2004a), “Nicht-reduktiver Kognitivismus als Theorie der Emotionen”, in: Handlung, Interpretation, Kultur. Zeitschrift für Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften 13, 50-85.
  • Slaby, J. (2004b), “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./Katz, G./Kühnberger K.-U./Stephan A. (2006), “Embodied Targets, or the Origin of Mind Tools”, in: Philosophical Psychology 19 (1), 103-118.
  • Slaby, J. (2007), “Emotionaler Weltbezug. Ein Strukturschema im Anschluss an Heidegger”, in: H. Landweer (Hrsg.), Struktur und Funktion der Gefühle, Stuttgart: Metzler, 93-112. PDF
  • Slaby, J. (2007), “Empfindungen. Skizze eines nicht-reduktiven, holistischen Verständnisses”, in: Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 32.3, 207-225. PDF
  • Slaby, J. (2007), “Affective Intentionality and the Feeling Body”, in: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, OnlineFirst, http://www.springerlink.com/content/108987/?Content+Status=Accepted
  • Slaby, J. (2008), Gefühl und Weltbezug. Die menschliche Affektivität im Kontext einer neo-existentialistischen Konzeption von Personalität, Paderborn: mentis (forthcoming)
  • Slaby, J./Stephan, A. (2008), “Affective Intentionality and Self-Consciousness”, forthcoming
  • Slaby, J. (2008), “Gefühle im Neo-Existentialismus”, forthcoming. PDF
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