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Katherina Kinzel

I studied philosophy and political science in Vienna and Berlin. My main research interests are in the philosophy/methodology of history and in the history of philosophy (especially 19th century German philosophy). Additional interests of mine are general philosophy of science, historical epistemology and narratology.

My doctoral thesis (written at the University of Vienna) deals with the problem of contingency in history and philosophy of science, and with the question as to how historical case studies can confirm philosophical theories.

At present, I am a postdoc in Martin Kusch’s ERC Project “The Emergence of Relativism” and work on the „Historicism“ strand of the project. I trace how relativist themes and arguments surface in nineteenth century German Historicists’ shifting conceptions of history and historical method. In particular, I study how historiography as a „Wissenschaft“ (Ranke, Droysen) was meant to preserve the meaningfulness of history and how the relation between the universal and the particular was (re-)conceptualised in different theories of historical understanding from Herder to Dilthey. I also look at late nineteenth century debates on historicism and psychologism and analyse the contributions of the Neo-Kantians Windelband and Rickert. My goal is to explain why relativism only turned into an explicit concern for philosophers towards the late nineteenth century, even though many relativist themes had already been around much earlier.

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