Matthias Haase

(Ethics, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Action, German Idealism)

Matthias Haase is Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He is a scholar in the research project Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life led by Candace Vogler and Jennifer Frey. His research is focused on foundational topics at the intersection of ethics and philosophy of mind. A central historical interest is the tradition of German Idealism, especially the aspects that are tied to Aristotle. He has also written on Wittgenstein and Frege. His current research project is devoted to the question whether there are specifically practical species of knowledge, reason and truth - and what this means for the philosophical account of our fundamental concepts of ethics like good, ought, justice as well as action, character and will.

Haase's previous appointments were at the Philosophisches Seminar at Universitat Basel and Institut fur Philosophie at Universitat Leipzig, with a two-year visiting fellowship at Harvard between them. His graduate studies were conducted at Freie Universitat Berlin, Humboldt Universitat Berlin, and finally Universitat Potsdam, and he spent several years at the University of Pittsburgh as a visiting scholar before completing his doctoral degree.




office: Stuart Hall 226
office hours: Spring Quarter, Mondays: 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Recent Courses

PHIL 27000. History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century. The philosophical ideas and methods of Immanuel Kant's "critical" philosophy set off a revolution that reverberated through 19th-century philosophy. We will trace the effects of this revolution and the responses to it, focusing in particular on the changing conception of what philosophical ethics might hope to achieve. We will begin with a consideration of Kant's famous Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, in which the project of grounding all ethical obligations in the very idea of rational freedom is announced. We will then consider Hegel's radicalization of this project in his Philosophy of Right, which seeks to derive from the idea of rational freedom, not just formal constraints on right action, but a determinate, positive conception of what Hegel calls "ethical life". We will conclude with an examination of three great critics of the Kantian/Hegelian project in ethical theory: Karl Marx, Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. Spring 2019

PHIL 53020. Agency and Action. (III) Autumn 2018

PHIL 54260. Recent Ethical Theory. We will discuss recent publications in contemporary ethics focusing on second personal relations. Literature will include texts by Jay Wallace, Michael Thompson, Jennifer Whiting. (I) Spring 2018

PHIL 28204/38204. Philosophy of Right: Fichte, Kant, Hegel. We will do a comparative reading of the beginnings of the philosophies of right of Fichte, Kant and Hegel. We will start with Fichte's attempt for a swift deductions of the concept of right from the 'I think' and then look how the introduction of rights is more complicated in the case of Kant and Hegel. (A) Winter 2018

PHIL 29601. Intensive Track Seminar. We will do a close reading of G.E.M. Anscombe's Intention and some of the related essays. Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive track program. Autumn 2017

PHIL 21507/31507. Recognition in Ethics. The seminar investigates the role of interpersonal self-consciousness in ethics. We will begin with the reflection on the bipolar normative nexus of the rights and duties we have toward each other as persons and then inquire into its connection to the capacity to know other minds, the capacity for other forms of non-instrumental concern for others and the capacity for communicative interaction with others. What is the relation between the status of a person, a bearer of rights, the recognition of others as persons and the practice of addressing each other in speech? Readings will include texts by Stanley Cavell, Steven Darwall, Francis Kamm, Christine Korsgaard, Thomas Nagel, Christopher Peacocke and T.M. Scanlon. Spring 2017

PHIL 51216. Being and Goodness: Varieties of Constitutivism. In contemporary meta-ethics, Constitutivism figures as an alternative to the familiar opposition between Realism and Non-Cognitivism. The fundamental norms to which we are subject in acting are not independent of our agency. Yet they are the objects of knowledge. They are internal to what we are. We will look at the recent debate on how such a view is to be spelled out and whether it provides viable alternative to Realism and Non-Cognitivism. Which characterization of us allows the derivation of substantive normative principles: the abstract concept of an agent or the concrete concept of a human being? What is the logical grammar of the relevant sortal concept? And how does our knowledge of our kind enter into its characterization? Readings will include texts by David Enoch, Christine Korsgaard, David Velleman, Phillippa Foot, Michael Smith, Judy Thompson and Michael Thompson. Winter 2017

Selected Publications

- "Geist und Gewohnheit: Hegels Begriff der anthropologischen Differenz", in: Andrea Kern, Christian Kietzmann (ed.), Selbstbewusstes Leben, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., forthcoming

- "For Oneself and Toward Another: The Puzzle About Recognition", in: Philosophical Topics, Vol. 42, Issue 1, Spring 2014, 113-152.

- "Am I You?", in: Philosophical Explorations, Special Issue, Naomi Eilan (ed.) The You Turn, 17 (3), 2014, 358-371.

- "Life and Mind", in: Thomas Khurana (ed.), The Freedom of Life: Hegelian Perspectives, August Verlag, Berlin 2013, 69-109.

- "Die Wirklichkeit meiner Tat", Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Philosophie, 61/3, 2013, 419-433.

- "Three Forms of the First Person Plural", in: Rethinking Epistemology, (eds.) Gunter Abel, James Conant, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2012, 229-256.

- "The Laws of Thought and the Power of Thinking", in: Canadian Journal of Philosophy, supplementary volume 35, Belief and Agency, (ed.) David Hunter, 2011, 249-297.