My definition of Philosophy.
I define philosophy as the endeavour to find the hidden questions. The aim of philosophy is to point out the failures in our knowledge. We think we know, but we don’t. Philosophers produce doubt – not knowledge.
The main focus points of my work as a philosopher is thus to show how to be critical in fruitful ways. Critique does not have to destroy or undermine the criticized subjects or objects. The point is that since no views are infallible, it is not embarrassing to fail. Rather, the aim of critique is to teach humility – I always become somewhat anxious when people are all too certain as to how the world is constituted. Such a certainty leads very often to cocksure engagements – quite often with unhappy victims as the consequence.
At the same time, however, we should not overcomplicate everything. We should not let ourselves paralyse by the fact that we can doubt about everything. In our daily lives we have to stop with our doubts – we have to make decisions. This is were philosophy should find us: In the crossroad between not being able to make proper decisions, but still being necessitated to do it nevertheless.
One returning figure in these reflections is an analysis of our way of thinking: Our thoughts and our language has to comprehend the world in systematic ways, in order to reduce complexity and to reach some level of unity and comprehensiveness. On the other hand, however we are also urged by a more sensuous normativity that urges us to comprehend the world adequately – in its manifold.
I love to seek out these foundational paradoxes in our lives. The irresolvable knots that we have to solve, but cannot. To this we can use critical theory, discourse analyses, deconstructive analyses – or we can merely use our minds to think.
The paradoxes are not dangerous, we should not let ourselves be paralysed by them. On the contrary they are quite often what actually energizes our existence. They are what calls upon us to do our very best to come up with the best solutions to irresolvable problems.
My main areas of interest
My first philosophical education was received at Aarhus University. The philosophical culture at the Aarhus-department is characterized by a continuous dialogue with the surrounding society.
Early in my philosophical formation I was mainly interested in existential questions: What does it mean to be an I, what should I do, etc. Followed by epistemological questions like: Do we even know that we exist…
Starting at the University I started out in musicology, and that made my philosophical interest focus on aesthetics (what is art, why is it important, what about “beauty”, etc.). Especially with the focus on the German tradition: Baumgarten, the Idealists, phenomenology.
Gradually this interest was turned towards the notions of history, because one of my main answers to the questions of beauty and humanity was that humanistic sciences can say something important about history. Thus history was the main aim of my MA-thesis.
After my MA-graduation I turned quite consequently towards critical theory. At first through an obvious reading of the Frankfurt-school, but later (during my work on my PhD.-thesis) I was also severely inspired by the French traditions. The distinction between critique as reflexive-rational and sensual-worlddisclosing became urgent to me.
After the PhD-thesis I turned towards the meaning and implications of the Internt. A post-doc scholarship from the Carlsberg Foundation had this as a main focus, and it led me to dive into philosophy of technology and philosophy of the public sphere, which are my current main subjects.
- To some extent in cronological order of when they came into my philosophical consciousness:
- Hardt & Negri