Dr. Gerhard Thonhauser

Biographical Note

Since February 2019 I work at the chair of practical philosophy (Prof. Sophie Loidolt) at TU Darmstadt.

From 2004-2010 I studied philosophy and political science at the University of Vienna. Graduation in philosophy with a thesis on the concept of temporality in Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Graduation in political science with a thesis on Judith Butler’s political theory. Several study and research stays at the University of Copenhagen. 2011-2012 DOC-scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). 2012-2016 scientific assistant at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna (chair for social and political philosophy; Prof. Hans Bernhard Schmid). 2016 doctorate in philosophy with a thesis on Heidegger and Kierkegaard. 2017-2018 Erwin Schrödinger Fellow of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) at Free University of Berlin (Prof. Jan Slaby), associated with the Collaborative Research Center 1171 Affective Societies.

Current Teaching

02-11-1007-ku Oliver Marchart: Thinking Antagonism: Political Ontology after Laclau

02-11-1008-ku Contractual foundations of modern politics

Research and Reflection -> Please contact me via email and come to my office hour by May 15 at the latest.

Research Profile

  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Emotions
  • Political Theory
  • 19th and 20th century philosophy
  • Social Ontology
  • Ethics

Current Research

In my current research project, I work on the affective dynamics in social collectives: My main example are sports audiences. Taking account of affective dynamics not only impacts research on emotions but has broader consequences for social and political philosophy as well as for the philosophy of mind and action.

In particular, I am interested in three issues: (1) Theories of emotional sharing, both in current debate on collective emotions and in classical phenomenology; (2) a notion of (inter)corporeality as inspired by Merleau-Ponty; (3) through the cooperation with social and cultural scientists, I have become increasingly interested in the history and philosophy of the social sciences.

Another area I am currently working on is the ontology of the social and the political. In this area, I also focus on a social-relational understanding of the social and the political against the background of a postfoundational ontology.

My thinking in the above-mentioned fields proceeds with continuous reference to authors from classical and post-classical phenomenology (especially Heidegger, Scheler, Stein, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Arendt).



Ein rätselhaftes Zeichen. Zum Verhältnis von Martin Heidegger und Søren Kierkegaard, (Kierkegaard Studies. Monograph Series, vol. 33) Berlin: DeGuyter, 2016.

Über das Konzept der Zeitlichkeit bei Søren Kierkegaard mit ständigem Hinblick auf Martin Heidegger, Freiburg/München: Alber, 2011.

Edited Volumes (selection)

From Conventionalism to Social Authenticity. Heidegger’s Anyone and Contemporary Social Theory, (Studies in the Philosophy of Sociality, vol. 10), edited together with Hans Bernhard Schmid, Berlin: Springer, 2017.

Perspektiven mit Heidegger. Zugänge – Pfade – Anknüpfungen, Freiburg: Alber, 2017.

Edited Journal Special Issue

“Dimensions of Vulnerability”, edited together with Martin Huth, Philosophy Today, 64 (1 and 3), forthcoming 2019.

Articles Peer Reviewed (selection)

“Emotional Sharing in Football Audiences”, together with Michael Wetzels, The Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, forthcoming 2019.

“Shared Emotions: A Steinian Proposal”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 17 (5), 2018, 997-1015.

“Shared Emotions and Collective Affective Intentionality”, I Quaderni della Ginestra, 22, 2018, 100-113.

“From Collectives to Groups. Sartre and Stein on Joint Action and Emotional Sharing”, in: Sebastian Luft and Ruth Hagengruber (eds.): Women Phenomenologist on Social Ontology, Clam: Springer, 2018, 183-194.

“Transforming the World: A Butlerian Reading of Heidegger on Social Change?”, in: Hans Bernhard Schmid and Gerhard Thonhauser (eds.): From Conventionalism to Social Authenticity. Heidegger’s Anyone and Contemporary Social Theory, Cham: Springer, 2017, 241-259.

“Thinker Without Category. Kierkegaard in Heidegger’s Thinking of the 1930s”, in: Arne Grøn, K. Brian Soderquist, René Rosfort (eds.): Kierkegaard’s Existential Approach, (Kierkegaard Studies. Monograph Series, vol. 35), Berlin: DeGruyter, 2017, 27-48.

“Karl Löwith’s Understanding of Sociality”, in: Hans Bernhard Schmid and Alessandro Salice, (eds.): The Phenomenological Approach to Social Reality. History, Concepts, Problems, (Studies in the Philosophy of Sociality, vol. 6), Berlin: Springer, 2016, 121-141.

“Martin Heidegger Reads Søren Kierkegaard – or What Did He Actually Read?”, Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook, 2016, 281-304.

Other Articles (selection)

“The Power of Public Assemblies: Democratic Politics following Butler and Arendt”, in: Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann (eds.): Political Phenomenology: Experience, Ontology, Episteme, forthcoming.

„Heidegger and the affective (ungrounding) of politics“, together with Jan Slaby, in: Christos Hadjioannou (ed.): Philosophers in Depth: Heidegger on Affect, Palgrave-Macmillan, forthcoming.

“Authenticity and Critique. Remarks on Heidegger and Social Theory”, in: James Thompson and Matthias Kaufmann (eds.): Regelfolgen, Regelschaffen, Regeländern – die Herausforderung für Auto-Nomie und Universalismus durch Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger und Carl Schmitt, Wien: Lang, forthcoming.

“Plurale Performativität. Butler und Arendt über die Macht spontaner Versammlungen”, in: Gerald Posselt, Tatjana Schönwälder-Kuntze, and Sergej Seitz (eds.): Dimensionen des Politischen. Zur politischen Philosophie Judith Butlers, Bielefeld: transcript, 2018, 251-267.

“Butler’s Social Ontology of the Subject and its Agency”, in: Diego D’Angelo, Sylvaine Gourdaine, Tobias Keiling, and Nikola Mirkovic, (eds.): Frei sein, frei handeln. Freiheit zwischen theoretischer und praktischer Philosophie, Freiburg: Alber, 2013, 144-157.

“Judith Butler: Kierkegaard as her early teacher in rhetoric and parody”, in: Jon Stewart (ed.): Kierkegaard's Influence on Social-Political Thought, (Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources, vol. 14), Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, 2011, 53-72.

“Zwischen regulierter Perspektive und heimsuchender Wirkung. Judith Butler und Susan Sontag über die Rollen der Fotografie in Zeiten des Krieges”, kunsttexte.de, 1/ 2011, (Special Issue “Bild und Norm”, edited by Iris Lana and Nora Ruck), 11 Seiten.

Handbook Entries (selection)

“Martin Heidegger and Otto Friedrich Bollnow”, in: Thomas Szanto and Hilge Landweer (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotions, London/New York: Routledge, forthcoming.

“Sozialphilosophie und Soziologie”, together with Hans Bernhard Schmid, in: Emmanuel Alloa, Thiemo Breyer, Emanuele Caminada (eds.): Handbuch Phänomenologie, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming.

“Feeling”, in: Jan Slaby and Christian von Scheve (eds.): Affective Societies – Key Concepts, London/New York: Routledge, 52-60.

“Existenzialistischer Marxismus”, together with Hans Bernhard Schmid, in: Michael Quante and David Schweikard (eds.): Marx-Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2015, 313-320.

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