Embodied Critical Thinking


Embodied Critical Thinking (ECT) is a research project initiated by philosophers and anthropologists of the University of Iceland, the University of Aarhus, the University of Koblenz, the University of StonyBrook and the Microphenomenology Laboratory in Paris.  

In this workshop we will introduce the approaches of Embodied Critical Thinking based on an embodied, embedded, enactive and extended approach to cognition. We will outline a reconsideration of thinking based on the turn to embodiment and its recognition of the important cognitive functions of pre-intentional backgrounds that participate in a felt, experiential and embodied way in thinking. This acknowledgement serves to overcome basic splits organizing our understanding of consciousness in which Cartesian cuts manifest themselves in daily and academic practices until today.  

The workshop will introduce basic concepts of body, environment, feeling and thinking that open up new ways to think about a constant micro-genesis of environments that include our own approaches, our thinking and feeling. One can easily experience the methodological change made by understanding thinking in embodied terms.  

In our workshop we will lay out interdisciplinary backgrounds and implications of Embodied Critical Thinking which come from pragmatist, phenomenological, feminist and artistic approaches. Furthermore, participants will be invited to experiment with the methods we research by deliberately bridging the first, second and third person perspective. The workshop will thus have two parts: a theoretical and practical session. The latter will give participants the opportunity to dip into their own research-fields or interests by drawing on actual experiences, the specificity of situations as well as the intricacy of experiential backgrounds. 


Workshop presenters


Gudbjörg R. Johannesdottir 

Department of Philosophy

University of Iceland 


Donata Schoeller (chair)

Institute of Philosophy

University of Koblenz, Germany


Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir

Department of Philosophy

University of Iceland


Björn Thorsteinsson

Department of Philosophy 

University of Iceland



Gudbjörg R. Johannesdottir is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Iceland's Institute for philosophy and a lecturer at the Iceland University of the Arts. Her current research focuses on the aesthetics and phenomenology of human thinking and understanding, and human-environment relations and processes.


Donata Schoeller is Guest Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland. Her research focuses on the embodied approach to meaning, based on hermeneutical, phenomenological, pragmatist and psychotherapeutic perspectives, as well as on the cognitive sciences. Her new book Close Talking: Erleben zu Sprache bringen is to be published by De Gruyter in 2019. Among her recent publications are: Saying What We Mean, edited together with Ed Casey (Northwestern University Press), and Thinking Thinking, edited together wie Vera Saller (Alber Verlag). Donata Schoeller publishes frequently in international journals like Continental Philosophy Review, Mind and Matter, Nietzsche Studien, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. She is a member of the Micro-Phenomenology Laboratory, Paris.


Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland. She was Erkko professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in 2014-2015 and is presently principal investigator of the research projects “Feminist philosophy transforming philosophy” and “Embodied Critical Thinking” (www.ect.hi.is). She studied philosophy in Boston and Berlin, and has published books on Nietzsche, feminist philosophy, Arendt and Beauvoir,  philosophy of the body and nature, as well as on women in the history of philosophy. Thorgeirsdottir is chair of the Committee on Gender Issues of FISP, the International Federation of Philosophical Societies that sponsors the World Congress of Philosophy. She is also one of the founders of the United Nations University Gender and Equality Studies and Training Programme. Recent publications are Nietzsche als Kritiker and Denker der Transformation (co-ed. Helmut Heit), Berlin 2016, and Calendar of Women Philosophers (2018, World Congress of Philosophy), and forthcoming, Methodological Reflections on Women´s Contribution and Influence in the History of Philosophy, co-ed. With Ruth Hagengruber, Springer 2019.


Björn Thorsteinsson is professor of philosophy and chair of the philosophy department at the University of Iceland. His research interests primarily involve the relation between phenomenology and ontology, or between matter and meaning. Among his publications are La question de la justice chez Jacques Derrida (2007) and “From différance to justice” (Continental Philosophy Review 2015).