Christopher Lauer

Assistant Professor of Philosophy





Office: 228 Kanakaole Hall

Office Phone: 932-7229




I’m a relative newcomer to UH Hilo but have already made it my home. After growing up in Texas and Kansas, attending college and grad school in California, Pennsylvania, and Germany, I just joined the faculty at UH Hilo in Fall 2011 to teach the department’s history of philosophy sequence (PHIL 211 and PHIL 213). My primary research interests are in German idealism and the ethics of recognition, and I have just completed a book on intimacy. ( Addressing such dimensions as gift-giving, physical touch, fetishes, irony, and mourning, the book argues that every demand for intimacy is contradictory in its very structure and yet that we should not relax into the deconstructive position that intimacy as such is impossible. The book draws widely on the philosophical tradition with a particular focus on recent French and German philosophy and also borrows some important insights from work in psychology, economics, anthropology, and sociology. My publishers won’t let me post copies of the articles listed below, but if any sound interesting, feel free to email me, and I’ll promise never to check back to see if you’ve actually read them.


Pictured above with me are my wife Quyen, son Clancy, and daughter Iris.  They’re the cute ones, and I’m the one who can’t keep his hands to himself.



Brief CV:



B.A. in Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, 2001

DAAD Scholar, Freiburg (Germany), 2004-5

PhD in Philosophy, Penn State University, 2007



Intimacy: A Dialectical Study London: Bloomsbury, 2016.

The Suspension of Reason in Hegel and Schelling, London: Continuum Press, 2010.



"Confronting the Anthropocene: Schelling and Lucretius on Receiving Nature's Gift," forthcoming in Comparative and Continental Philosophy.


"How to Dance the Law: Engaged Embodiment in Hegel's Philosophy of Right," forthcoming in Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence," ed. Sarah Marusek, (Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate, 2016).


“Schelling’s Unfinished Dialogue: Reason and Personality in the Letter to Eschenmayer,” in Schelling’s Practice of the Wild, edited by Jason Wirth (Albany: SUNY Press, 2015), 197-208.


“States of Peace: Ricoeur on Recognition and the Gift,” in From Ricoeur to Action, edited by Todd Mei and David Lewin (London: Continuum, 2012), 175-191.


“Affirmative Pathology: Spinoza and Hegel on Illness and Self-Repair,” in Between Hegel and Spinoza: A Volume of Critical Essays, edited by Hasana Sharp and Jason E. Smith (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 133-150.


“Multivalent Recognition: The Place of Hegel in the Fraser-Honneth Debate,” Contemporary Political Theory, 11: 1 (2012), 23-40.


 “Sovereign Gratitude: Hegel on Religion and the Gift,” Research in Phenomenology, 41: 3 (2011), 374-395.


“Kierkegaard and Aristophanes on the Suspension of Irony,” Idealistic Studies, 39: 1-3 (2010), 125-136.


“Kant and Jealousy in Derrida’s Glas,” The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 40: 1 (2009), 54-65.


 “Reason at Play: The Place of Schellingian Childishness in the Phenomenology’s Dialectic of Reason,” The Owl of Minerva, 37: 2 (2007), 57-75.


“Spinoza’s Third Kind of Knowledge as a Resource for Schelling’s Empiricism,” Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, 18 (2007), 168-181.


“Space, Science, and Self-Sacrifice in the Phenomenology’s ‘Absolute Knowing,’” Idealistic Studies, 36: 3 (2006), 169-181.        





“Audacious Eating as Counterimmunity,” meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Seattle, Washington, September 24, 2015.


"How to Dance the Law: Engaged Embodiment in Hegel's Philosophy of Right," International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law, Volcano, Hawaii, April 30, 2015.


“Is Intimacy Impossible?” University of Hawai`i-Manoa Philosophy Department, November 7, 2014.


 “Narrative Epiphenomenalism, or Hegel’s Critique of Twitter,” meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Los Angeles, California, October 4, 2014.


“Observing the Holy Sabbath of Nature,” meeting of the North American Schelling Society, New York, New York, August 30, 2014.


“Axel Honneth and the Frankfurt School’s Reception of Dewey,” meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Denver, Colorado, March 7, 2014.


“A Place Left Behind? Freud and Bataille on the Topology of Mourning,” meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, San Francisco, California, September 27, 2013.


“Laughter and Intimacy in the Evolution of Humor,” Of Mind and Mirth: A Conference on the Philosophy of Humor, Waterville, Maine, April 6, 2013.


“Touching, Sexual Deviance, and the Impossibility of Intimacy,” Cal State Stanislaus Invited Speakers Series, Turlock, California, February 18, 2013.


“Irigaray and Kierkegaard on the Fluid Between,” meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Volcano, Hawai`i, September 29, 2012.


“Be Still, Our Beating Heart: Schelling on the Organics of Intimacy,” meeting of the North American Schelling Society, Seattle, Washington, September 1, 2012.


“Irigaray and Kierkegaard on God and Intimacy,” meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 21, 2011.


“Beauvoir and Kierkegaard on Embedding and Irony,” meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Seattle, Washington, October 7, 2011


“Beyond Restlessness: Hegel on Becoming the Negative,” Meeting of the Ontario Hegel Association, Ottawa, Ontario, April 2, 2011.


“Bourdieu and Derrida on the Paradox of Gift-Giving,” Colloquium on Unreflective Action, Newark, New Jersey, March 22, 2011


“Beauvoir and Nancy on Touching and Borders,” Anzaldua Speakers Series, Edinburg, Texas, February 17, 2011.


“Intimacy, Dialectics, and Deconstruction,” Morgan State Invited Speakers Series, Baltimore, Maryland, October 29, 2010


“Sovereign Gratitude: Hegel on Religion and the Gift of Nature,” Meeting of the Ontario Hegel Organization, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 20, 2010.


“States of Peace: Ricoeur and Fichte on Gestures of Recognition,” Meeting of the Society for Ricoeur Studies, Arlington, Virginia, October 31, 2009.


“The ‘Unceasing Wound of Love’: Schelling, Hesiod, and Lucretius on the Gift of Nature,” Meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Seattle, October 9, 2009.


“Kierkegaard’s Suspension of Socratic Irony,” Meeting of the International Association for Philosophy and Literature, London, England, June 3, 2009.


“Schelling’s Second Thoughts on Second Nature,” Second Nature: Rethinking the Natural through Politics, Evanston, Illinois, February 9, 2007.


“Historiographical Necessity Heidegger’s Beiträge and Hegel’s Differenzschrift,” Meeting of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, Cambridge, England, April 5, 2006.


„Räumlichkeit, Sprache, und der Ort der Ethik in Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes,“ Symposium on Die Ethik des deutschen Idealismus, Freiburg, Germany, January 18, 2005.


“The Inadequacy of the Understanding and Inexhaustibility of Reason in Schelling’s Naturphilosophie,” Collegium Phaenomenologicum, Città di Castello, Italy, July 17, 2004.


“Heidegger’s 1936 Schelling Lectures and the Impossibility of System in the Beiträge,” Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, Binghamton, NY, April 17, 2004.



Courses Taught


At UH Hilo

Introduction to Western Philosophy, Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011

Ancient Philosophy, Fall 2013, Fall 2012, Fall 2011

Modern Philosophy, Spring 2013, Spring 2012, Spring 2014

Hegel, Spring 2014

Social Ethics, Fall 2013

Bioethics, Fall 2013

Marxism, Spring 2013

Philosophy of Law, Fall 2012

Ethical Theory, Spring 2012

Heidegger, Fall 2011


At Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Ethics, Fall 2010

Critical Thinking, Fall 2010


At Clarion University

Nursing Ethics, Spring 2010


At Penn State University

Modern Philosophy, Spring 2009

Philosophy and Literature in Western Culture, Spring 2009

Persons, Moral Values, and the Good Life, Spring 2009, Fall 2008, Spring 2008, Spring 2006

Ancient Philosophy, Fall 2008

Basic Problems of Philosophy, Spring 2008, Fall 2007, Fall 2005

Wittgenstein, Fall 2007

Twentieth Century Philosophy, Fall 2006

Introduction to Bioethics, Spring 2004

Relativism, Absolutism, and Moral Reasoning, Summer 2003

Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Spring 2003

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Fall 2002