Karin Alina Nisenbaum

Contact: knisenbaum@colgate.edu

Karin Nisenbaum received her PhD in 2013 from the Department of Philosophy and the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She holds an M.A. degree in Continental Philosophy from University College Dublin and a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on the trajectory of metaphysics from Kant through German Idealism to modern Jewish thought. Currently, she is working on two book projects: the first develops a conception of selfhood, and provides an account of moral judgment, informed by Kant, Schelling, Rosenzweig, and Cavell; the second draws on German Idealism, Phenomenology, and Existentialism to offer a response to contemporary Anglophone objections to Kant’s method of philosophical argumentation— the method of transcendental argumentation.  She is the founder of The University of Toronto Journal of Jewish Thought.

Karin will be a Mandel Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University from September 2014-August 2017.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, she was a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver.  She was also a Visiting Scholar at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.


 For the Love of Metaphysics: From the Revolution in Thinking towards the Renewal of Thinking

Supervisor: Paul W. Franks

One of Kant’s most original insights is the notion that we can construct a philosophical argument—a transcendental argument—whose central premise makes a first-personal appeal to our conception of ourselves as moral agents.  The epistemic force that accrues to the concepts, ideas, or principles that are justified by this form of philosophical argument can be characterized as “moral belief” or “moral certainty.”  My dissertation has two interrelated aims: First, to exhibit the most significant repercussions of this basic Kantian insight for philosophical methodology, for our conceptions of human freedom and moral agency, and for the possibility of religious belief.  Second, to show that Franz Rosenzweig’s theism is supported by what we may regard as a transcendental argument that reveals the conditions of possibility for understanding ourselves as beings endowed with ethical value.



Refereed Journal Article
“Understanding the Body’s Critique,” Perspectives: International Postgraduate Journal of  Philosophy, Autumn 2008.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

“From the Revolution in Thinking to the Renewal of Thinking: The Systematic    Task of The Star of Redemption,” in After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in           Continental Philosophy of Religion, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010.

Co-written with Daniel Whistler “F.W.J. Schelling,” in Religion and European      Philosophy: Key   Thinkers from Kant to the Present, Acumen Publishing, forthcoming in   2014.

Book Review

  Review of Eric Santner’s On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald, in the International     Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 16 Issue 1, 101.

Literary Publications

“Coetzee, Profesor,” Letras Libres, 6:61, 102-03.  January 2004.

“Dimitri Karamazov, el Amor de Hijo,” Vitral, Winter 2003.

Other Scholarly Work

“A Different Tenor: Songs of Love and Sorrow—Re-Engaging the Social Ethics of            Music,” Toronto Journal of Theology, Vol. 27 Issue 1, 87–106.


Karin Alina Nisenbaum