The project The Life of the Mind aims to examine selected theories about the mental development of persons in modern and contemporary philosophy that draw on some notion of life. The core idea is, roughly, that persons constitute themselves as individual entities over the course of life and that this self-constitution is based on individual psychological abilities, interpersonal interaction mediated mainly by language, and relevant environmental factors.

The historical positions I consider include Leibniz’s metaphysical theory of a teleologically oriented mind, Kant’s normative theory of a self-determining person, Dilthey’s hermeneutic theory of a subject of experience, which builds on the German idealists’ conception of life, and Stein’s phenomenological theory of a bodily-psycho-spiritual unity. 

The project is funded by a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for two research stays at the Université Paris VIII (January to July 2021 and May to July 2023).

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation: