Thiemo Breyer

Phenomenology and Anthropology, University of Cologne

Thiemo Breyer is professor of Phenomenology and Anthropology at the Department of Philosophy at University of Cologne and director of the Husserl Archive there. Previously, he was junior professor for Transformations of Knowledge at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne. Fellowships took him to the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University. He held visiting professorships in Kyoto, Milan, Mainz, and Montreal.

As a philosopher with training and continuing interests in anthropology and cognitive science, Thiemo Breyer is concerned with questions of consciousness, corporeality, emotions, and intersubjectivity from an interdisciplinary perspective. His research aims to describe and conceptualize how people – given specific socio-cultural contexts, mental schemata, and bodily habits – understand themselves, the world, and others, and how they articulate this understanding.

During his HIAS fellowship, Thiemo Breyer will examine the relationship between philosophy and ethnology with regards to the possibilities and limitations of phenomenological methods for analyses in ethnography. The traditions of phenomenological sociology and hermeneutic cultural studies are brought into dialogue with current regional field research. A thematic focus is the human capacity for empathy – not only with other people, but also with animals, natural phenomena, and spiritual entities.

His collaboration partner is Michael Schnegg, head of the Institute of Social & Cultural Anthropology, Department of Cultural History and Cultural Studies at Universität Hamburg.

Thiemo Breyer’s HIAS Fellowship is funded by the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg.


Thiemo Breyer


Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg

Collaboration Partners

Frank Fehrenbach, Professor in the Department of Art History, Universität Hamburg

Michael Schnegg, head of the Institute of Social & Cultural Anthropology, Department of Cultural History and Cultural Studies, Universität Hamburg



Empathy Beyond the Human. The Social Construction of a Multispecies World

Michael Schnegg and Thiemo Breyer

Ethnos, December 2022

Publications in the Fellows’ Library

Verkörperte Intersubjektivität und Empathie
Klostermann, Frankfurt a. Main 2015

Epistemological Dimensions of Evolutionary Psychology

Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Phenomenology of Thinking
Philosophical Investigations Into the Character of Cognitive Experiences

Edited by Thiemo Breyer and Christopher Gutland

Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York 2016

Lectures and Events (excerpt)

Photo: Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen (@fraumuksch), Chief’s Island, Botswana (unsplash)

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