Dr. Jan Slaby

Philosophical Outlook

I’m a philosopher working at the intersection of philosophy of mind, social philosophy and philosophy of science. I take a non-standard perspective in the philosophy of mind and subject theory centered on affect, agency and social interaction, employing a post-phenomenological methodology. In particular, my interests lie with an dynamic account of affect with a focus on subject-formation and social interaction, where I explore links to recent work in cultural studies. I also work on a critical science studies approach that goes by the name "critical neuroscience", assessing the stakes and impacts of recent work in human neuroscience. One broader aim in all this is to develop an account of the interfacing between individual mental and personal capacities and social, cultural and technological infrastructure, including modes of global governance and policy. I find it crucial to not restrict one's perspective to theoretical considerations. Instead, I try to keep theoretical work informed by political and social concerns, making use of case studies and interdisciplinary collaboration, working from a situated and engaged stance that I call ‘political philosophy of mind’. When it comes to dealings with scientific work, I favor a situated and critically engaging orientation that Joseph Rouse has called ‘cultural studies of science’.


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 colleagues from different fields, and I am looking forward to further expand my network of partners. 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. As things have gotten rather busy and I am involved in a lot of advisory roles, I cannot accept too many new assignments. This pertains in particular to external candidates, as my position obliges me to prioritize students at FU Berlin.

Critical Neuroscience

Philosophy of Emotions

Philosophy of Mind - Cognitive Science

Collaborative Research Center "Affective Societies" (Free University Berlin)

Colleagues in Jena

Upcoming activities

  • March 26-27, 2020, Berlin, Freie Universität, Workshop co-organized with Laura Candiotto on 'The Role of Emotions in Epistemic Practices and Communities', title of my talk: "Disclosure and denial: On the epistemic predicament of human affectivity"
  • March 31, 2020, Pardubice, Czech Republic, Talk at the Centre for Ethics as Study of Human Value, Title: "Some framework issues in the philosophy of emotion"
  • April 21-22, 2020, Berlin, Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Talk (jointly with Philipp Haueis) at the Conference, 'Brain, Mind, and Behavior - Situating Neuroscience Research in the Max Planck Society (MPG) in its International Historical Context, 1948-2005', Title: "What was Critical Neuroscience?"
  • May 18, 2020, Universität Mainz, Studium Generale, Evening Lecture in the Lecture Series '15 Jahre Manifest der Hirnforscher', Title: "Gehirn und Geschichte: Kritische Neurowissenschaft als Postkoloniale Theorie"
  • July 6-9, 2020, McGill University, Montreal, Summer School on 'Critical Neuroscience' as part of the annual Summer Program in Social and Cultural Psychiatry, Title of my talk: "The Critical Neuroscience of Sylvia Wynter"
  • August 24-28, 2020, Universität Würzburg, Institute of Philosophy, Summer School 'Affective Intentionality in Medieval Philosophy & Phenomenology', title of my talk: "Affect as history, dead or alive"
  • September 30-October 2, 2020, University of Bonn, Annual Conference of the DFG-Research-Group 'Resilienz in Religion und Spiritualität', Title of my talk: "Jetzt erst recht: Kritik der Resilienz"
  • October 22-24, 2020, Universitäts-Klinikum Heidelberg, Talk at the 1st Conference of the European Association of Phenomenology and Psychopathology (EAPP) , Title: "Affective Arrangements: A Modest Proposal for Psychotherapy"


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 postdisciplinary study of affect, 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', 'neuroaesthetics' or 'neurohistory'. 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 Kant, Nietzsche, Benjamin and Heidegger.

Other activities

I used to work part-time as a TV commentator specialized on basketball for the sports network Eurosport, but I stopped that 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 likely do more of the following: Spend more time with my wife Laura and our daughter Hannah, read more good novels, go fishing from time to time, learn how to cook better and practice it often, play and (more realistically) watch some basketball, see my friends more, and, not least, spend more time with my mom Clara.


  • Schuetze, P., Jörg, K., von Maur, I., & Slaby, J. (forthcoming). Affect as Disruption: Affective Experimentation, Automobility, and the Ecological Crisis. In: Affective Experimentation Anthology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Draft Version, comments welcome [DOC]
  • Slaby, J. (2021). Expanding the Active Mind. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology. DOI: 10.1080/00071773.2021.1905487 Author's final draft - published article at https://fu-berlin.academia.edu/JanSlaby [PDF]
  • Ceesay, S., & Slaby, J. (2021). Musterschüler. Elemente einer kritischen Genealogie der deutschen Schule. In: Dilger, H., & Warstat, M. (eds.). Umkämpfte Vielfalt. Affektive Dynamiken institutioneller Diversifizierung (pp. 290-317). Frankfurt am Main: Campus. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2020). Dimensions of Institutional Affect. A Philosophical Exploration. Unpublished Working Paper. Draft Version, comments welcome [DOC]
  • Slaby, J. (2021). Philosophy of Mind for Dystopic Times. Syndicate Network website Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2021). A Challenge to Perceptual Theories of Emotion. In: Demmerling, C. & Schröder, D. (eds.). Concepts in Thought, Action and Emotion: New Essays (pp. 277-293). New York: Routledge. proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2019). Negri und wir: Affekt, Subjektivität und Kritik in der Gegenwart. Ein Nachwort. In: Mühlhoff, R., Breljak, A., Slaby, J. (eds.). Affekt Macht Netz. Auf dem Weg zu einer Sozialtheorie der Digitalen Gesellschaft. Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 337-351. [pdf]
  • Szanto, T., & Slaby, J. (2020). Political Emotions. In: Szanto, T., & Landweer, H. (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotions. New York: Routledge. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2020). The Weight of History: From Heidegger to Afro-Pessimism. In: L. Guidi, & T. Rentsch (eds.). Phenomenology as Performative Exercise (pp. 173-195). New York & Leiden: Brill. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., Mühlhoff, R., & Wüschner, P. (2019). Concepts as Methodology. In: Kahl, A. (ed.). Analyzing Affective Societies: Methods and Methodologies (pp. 27-42). New York: Routledge. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & von Scheve, C. (2019). Introduction: Affective Societies - Key Concepts. In: Slaby, J. & C. von Scheve (eds.). Affective Societies: Key Concepts (pp. 1-24). New York: Routledge. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Mühlhoff, R. (2019). Affect. In: Slaby, J. & C. von Scheve (eds.). Affective Societies: Key Concepts (pp. 27-41). New York: Routledge. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Bens, J. (2019). Political Affect. In: Slaby, J. & C. von Scheve (eds.). Affective Societies: Key Concepts (pp. 340-351). New York: Routledge. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Röttger-Rössler, B. (2018). Introduction: Affect in Relation. In: Röttger-Rössler, B., & Slaby, J. (eds.) Affect in Relation: Families, Places, Technologies. Essays on Affectivity and Subject Formation in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2017). More than a Feeling: Affect as Radical Situatedness. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41(1), 7-26. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2018). Affective Arrangements and Disclosive Postures. In: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2018(2), 197-216. Proofs [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2017). Affekt und Politik. Neue Dringlichkeiten in einem alten Problemfeld. Philosophische Rundschau 64, 134-162. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J., & Choudhury, S. (2018). Proposal for a Critical Neuroscience. In: Meloni, M, Crombie, J, D. Fitzgerald, & Lloyd, S. (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Biology and Society (pp. 341-370). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 2018 version [PDF]
  • Slaby, J. (2019). Existenzielle Gefühle und In-der-Welt-sein. In: H. Kappelhoff, J.-H. Bakels, C. Schmitt, H. Lehmann (eds.). Emotionen. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Stuttgart: Metzler. edited final Draft [PDF]
  • Slaby, J. (2017), Living in the Moment: Boredom and the Meaning of Existence in Heidegger and Pessoa. In: Hans Feger, Xie Dikun, Wang Ge and Hilge Landweer (eds.). Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy, vol. 2 (pp. 235-256), Berlin/New York: de Gruyter. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2016). Die Kraft des Zorns - Sara Ahmeds aktivistische Post-Phänomenologie. In I. Marcinski & H. Landweer (eds.). Dem Erleben auf der Spur. Feminismus und Phänomenologie. Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 279-303. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2018). Drei Haltungen der Affect Studies. In Larissa Pfaller & Basil Wiesse (eds.). Stimmungen und Atmosphären - Zur Affektivität des Sozialen (pp 53-81). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. [pdf] 
  • Slaby, J., Mühlhoff, R., & Wüschner, P. (2019). Affective Arrangements. Emotion Review 11(1), 3-12. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2019). Relational Affect: Perspectives from Philosophy and Cultural Studies. In: T. Jirsa, E. van Alphen (eds.). How to Do Things with Affects: Affective Operations in Art, Literature, and New Media (pp. 58-80). New York & Leiden: Brill. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2016). Kritik der Resilienz. In P. Wüschner & F. A. Kurbacher (eds.). Was ist Haltung? (pp. 273-298). Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2016). Emotionen. In: M. Kühler & M. Rüther (eds.). Handbuch Handlungstheorie. Grundlagen, Kontexte, Perspektiven. Stuttgart: Metzler, pp. 185-193. Late Draft [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2016). Mind Invasion: Situated Affectivity and the Corporate Life Hack. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2016, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00266. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2015). Critical Neuroscience Meets Medical Humanities. Medical Humanities 41, 16-22. [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. [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), 249-258. [pdf]
  • Slaby, J. (2013). Gekommen, um zu bleiben: Emotionen in der Philosophie. In: Berliner Debatte Initial 24(3), 15-30. [pdf]
  • 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. (2017). Der verblassende Glanz des Cogito. Zum frühen Subjektdenken Paul Ricœurs. In: Creutz, D./Breyer, Th. (Hg.), Phänomenologie des praktischen Sinns – Die Willensphilosophie Paul Ricœurs im Kontext. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink. Draft Manuscript [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. Proofs [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. [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. [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. proofs [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]