Boris Hennig

Assistant Professor (Ancient Philosophy)
Ryerson University, Toronto

Boris is currently pursuing a research project on practical self-knowledge. The aim is to identify and describe forms of self-knowledge that stand to the self as practical knowledge, in Aquinas and Anscombe (for example), stands to intentions, actions, and attitudes. Boris is currently working on self-knowledge in Hugh of St. Victor and Karl Marx. Future projects include self-knowledge in Islamic mysticism and in Georg Lukács.

Relevant Publications

Hennig, Boris (2017). "Self-Knowledge by Participation". In: Gyula Klima, Alexander Hall, eds., Consciousness and Self-Knowledge in Medieval Philosophy.

Hennig, Boris (2007). "Cartesian Conscientia". British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15(3), 455-484. pdf

Hennig, Boris (2010). "Consciousness as Spontaneous Knowledge". In: Petr Glombicek & James Hill, eds., Essays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern Philosophy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 7-27. pdf

Hennig, Boris (2010). "Science, Conscience, Consciousness". History of the Human Sciences 23(3), 15-28. pdf

Hennig, Boris (2017). Review of Christopher Moore, "Socrates and Self-Knowledge". Philosophical Quarterly, 2017.



David Ciavatta

Associate Professor (Continental Philosophy / Hegel)
Ryerson University, Toronto

David is interested in how the theme of self-knowledge broadens beyond the question of how the subject knows its own inner mental states, and into the issue of how the subject relates to itself via its practical engagement with the things and other selves around it, as well as via the wider culture in which it lives. For instance, he has been long interested in Hegel’s thesis that self-knowledge is only adequately achieved in and through relations of mutual recognition with other selves, and his thesis that art and religion are irreducible forms in which "mind" or "spirit" ultimately knows itself. David has also been interested in the phenomenological thesis that a self cannot ultimately be understood independently of the concrete world in which it lives, and so that self-knowledge comes hand in hand with an account of the natural and artificial things that shape our lives.

Relevant Publications

Ciavatta, David (2008). "Hegel on Desire's Knowledge." The Review of Metaphysics, 61 (March 2008): 527-554.

Ciavatta, David (2009). Spirit, the Family, and the Unconscious in Hegel’s Philosophy. State University of New York Press, 2009.



Thomas Land

Assistant Professor (Early Modern Philosophy / Kant)
Ryerson University, Toronto

Thomas is primarily interested in self-consciousness and its relation to rationality. The idea is that it seems to be a characteristic of certain mental states that one cannot have these states without also, in some sense, knowing that one has them. In particular, it has been argued that this is true of the propositional attitudes; paradigmatically, of belief and intention, as these figure in the lives of rational creatures. Thomas is especially interested in the idea that what explains this phenomenon is the fact that rational creatures are, in some sense, the agents of their beliefs and intentions - so he is interested in the idea of epistemic, or more broadly speaking, cognitive agency, and all that comes with it: the idea that such states are constitutively subject to normative assessment, that being an agent in this sense requires some kind of grasp of such norms etc. Finally, Thomas is attracted by the thought that perceptual experience, to the extent that it has an epistemic role in rational creatures, is also self-conscious in this sense - that you can’t perceive without, in some sense, knowing that you perceive. His interest in these topics is shaped in part by Kant’s view that self-consciousness (in something like this sense) is fundamental to the very capacity for rational thought and action, and the closely related idea that reason is a spontaneous, or self-determining, capacity. Thomas have written (and continues to write) about Kant’s view on this, especially as it applies to his conception of perception and perceptual experience.

Relevant Publications

“Nonconceptualist Readings of Kant and the Transcendental Deduction,” Kantian Review 20.1 (2015), 25-51.

“Kant’s Spontaneity Thesis,” Philosophical Topics: Analytic Kantianism, vol. 34 (2006), 189-220.



Antoine Panaïoti

Assistant Professor (Classical Indian Philosophy / Nietzsche)
Ryerson University

Associate Research Member, School of Religious Studies, McGill University

Antoine is all but convinced that most people, whether or not they would use these (if any) words, regard themselves as, in essence, a personal substance that endures through time. He is convinced that we have few good reasons to believe that there are and many good reasons to believe that there aren't said personal substances.
Antoine is interested in the status of the ill-founded notion of personal substance: Is it just a residual mytho-poetic or religious idea, or does it derive from something more fundamental in human psychology? Is it the object of a mere belief, or the manifestation of some deeper attitude, which may not be strictly propositional, let alone consciously accessible? Is it primarily first-personal, and only derivatively second- and third-personal, or primarily second-personal, and only derivatively first- and third-personal, etc.?
He is also interested in a host of epistemological, metaphysical, psychological, ethical, and political questions surrounding the various dimensions of the construct at hand and/or of the implications of doing without it: What is knowledge if there is no knower (in the strict sense of the term)? What is consciousness if there is no subject of consciousness (in the strict sense of the term)?

Relevant Publications

Panaïoti, A. (2015). "Mindfulness and Personal Identity in the Western Cultural Context: A Plea for Greater Cosmopolitanism," Journal of Transcultural Psychiatry 52(1), pp. 501–523.

Panaïoti, A. (2013). Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Panaïoti, A. (2013). "Anātmatā, Moral Psychology, and Soteriology in Indian Buddhism" in N. Mirning, P.-D. Szanto, and M. Williams (eds.), Puṣpikā: Tracing Ancient India through Text and Traditions. Contributions to Current Research in Indology. Volume I. Oxford: Oxbow Books Press, pp. 365–379.

Panaïoti, A. (2009). "Wrong View, Wrong Action" in N. Norris and C. Balman (eds.), Uneasy Humanity: Perpetual Wrestlings with Evils. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp. 9–23.