Liesbet De Kock, visiting researcher, February-March 2016

Liesbet De Kock, visiting researcher at the Center for Subjectivity Research

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Although a two-month visit is relatively brief, I had a very stimulating and inspiring stay at the Center for Subjectivity Research. As a master in Clinical Psychology and a post-doc in philosophy (Free University of Brussels), I found the interdisciplinary focus of the Center particularly appealing and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekly seminars. Although not all of them aligned with my specific area of research, the weekly gatherings broaden the horizon and open up new venues of thought.

During my research stay, I focussed on finishing a manuscript on Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s transcendental approach to the body, entitled ‘Determination, Embodiment and Affect. The Epistemic Purport of J.G. Fichte’s Theory of the Body’. In the past decades, academic philosophy has witnessed an expanding ‘back-to-Fichte’ movement that seems to thrive mainly on the recovery of the valuable insights to be drawn from Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s account of subjectivity in general, and of self-consciousness in particular.

In sharp contrast to the vast amount of secondary literature on Fichte’s theory of subjectivity, his analysis of the body has received comparatively little attention, although it is highly interesting for a number of different reasons. For one thing, it seems to resonate with later phenomenological conceptions, so I figured the Center for Subjectivity Research would provide me with the ideal intellectual atmosphere to finish my draft and discuss it with other scholars. And it definitely met my expectations!

During my stay, I hosted a weekly reading group in which we read and discussed relevant work of Fichte, which was very helpful. Exchanging my views with the members of the reading group and presenting my work at a Research Seminar allowed me to fine-tune my understanding of Fichte’s work on the body and its possible broader relevance. Near the end of my stay, I submitted the manuscript to the European Journal of Philosophy.

Apart from being an academically productive stay, I appreciated the intellectual openness of the Center and the numerous opportunities it offers for scholarly exchange, and last but not least: the delicious food at the University cafeteria and great coffee! Although there is much to be doubted (especially when it comes to Fichte), one truth remains forever beyond suspicion: life is too short to drink bad coffee. They definitely understood that in Copenhagen…

All the best from Belgium,


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