photo of Katharina Kaiser

Katharina Kaiser

Continuing Lecturer

Office: Philosophy Hall 233
Office hours: Th 3-4pm & Friday 2-3

My alma mater is the Universität Hamburg (Germany), where I studied philosophy and German literature, as well as physics and the history of science. After receiving my degree in philosophy with a concentration on scientific methodology, I started my academic career as a researcher (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) in philosophy of science. Since then my interests have shifted to questions in ancient philosophy, the history of skepticism, the philosophy of language (in particular Wittgenstein on the normativity of practice), and modern European philosophy more generally.

I arrived at UC Berkeley after affiliations at many institutions in the United States and abroad (including Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Australian National University, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). At Berkeley I have offered courses on post-Kantian philosophy (Nietzsche and Schopenhauer) and 20th century German philosophy (Heidegger, Adorno, and Hannah Arendt), as well as a range of topics in aesthetics and the theory of art. Research and collaborations with philosophers in Europe and Germany (in particular at the Humboldt Universität and the Freie Universität in Berlin) have led to regular extended stays abroad.

Currently I am developing a critical theory of ‘Mitsein’ (Being-with-one-another), inspired by Hölderlin, that also incorporates influences from Hannah Arendt. The leading questions here concern the role of the ‘Foreign’ in creating and maintaining a meaningful ‘communality in distinct plurality’, as well as the implications of these ideas for questions about the function of art and its relation to language. Other continuing interests of mine include the phenomenology of the sublime and the theory of the avant-garde.