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Ype de Boer

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My philosophical interests are contemporary philosophy, historicity and the relation between philosophy and literature, and I try to interweave these interests in my teaching as well as in my research. My lectures stress the way the understanding of philosophy, art and language has changed throughout history and what this insight means for contemporary philosophy.

My PhD research deals with Giorgio Agamben’s methodology and his conception of subjectivity, i.e. human thinking, experiencing and acting. For Agamben, subjectivity is constituted in and through language, and, since language is essentially historical, so is the constitution of subjectivity. From this basis Agamben analyses the Western tradition in order to grasp the way our present experience is constituted by categories such as ‘life’, ‘law’ and ‘human’ and theoretical pairs such as ‘potentiality-actuality’, ‘necessity-contingency’ and ‘general-particular’. These analyses, in which Agamben engages himself with disciplines outside of philosophy such as law theory, political theory, comparative literature and theology, are all part of the major task he has set for philosophy: a revision of the fundamental categories of the social sciences.
My PhD research consists of an analysis of the philosophical presuppositions that make his method of ‘philosophical archaeology’ possible, in order to give an account of the way this method has developed and changed throughout his oeuvre and how the specific results of his engagement with tradition are to be evaluated. The guiding concept in my analysis is Agamben's 'zone of indifference'.

As separate projects I have written two books, one on the philosophical value of the fiction of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami (Murakami en het gespleten leven, AUP) and one on erotics (Het erotisch experiment. Voorbij de moderne seksuele identiteit, Ten Have). The intuition guiding Murakami en het gespleten leven is that an analysis of the images, persona's and narratives in his writing offers an important perspective on problems in modern Western secular life. Vice versa is it starting from contemporary philosophical issues that a genuine and coherent interpretation of Murukami's fictional oeuvre is strived for. In Het erotisch experiment I sketch the historico-cultural horizon of modern western erotic experience, analyse the erotic atmospheres of different cultures and times and develop a philosophical experiment to deactivate certain dominant modern concepts in search for the Idea of the erotic.

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  • Publications 

De Boer, Y.M. (2020) 'Giorgio Agamben en de kinderlijke roeping van de mens' in De Nederlandse boekengids, nr 3/2020

De Boer, Y.M. (2019) 'Recensie: Idee van het proza', in: Filosofie-Tijdschrifti jrg. 26 nr 6.

De Boer, Y.M. (2019) Het erotisch experiment. Voorbij de moderne seksuele identiteit, Ten Have: Amsterdam

De Boer, Y.M. (2018) 'In de taal van het leven getuigen', in Wijsgerig perspectief nr. 4/2018, november.

De Boer, Y.M. (2018) 'Inleiding', in: Agamben, G. Wat er overblijft van Auschwitz, Verbum/Alinea: Amsterdam. 

De Boer, Y.M. (2018) Digitale leeswijzer bij Agamben, G. 'Wat er overblijft van Auschwitz', Verbum/Alinea: Amsterdam. Available at:

De Boer, Y.M. (2017) Murakami en het gespleten leven, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

De Boer, Y.M. (2017), Digitale leeswijzer en samenvatting 'De ondergang van het Avondland', Amsterdam: Boom. Available at

De Boer, Y.M. (2017), 'De enig mogelijke ethische ervaring. Agambens inversie van traditionele ethiek', in: Tijdschrift Filosofie, juli.

De Boer, Y.M. (2016) 'Giorgio Agambens profane filosofie: het indifferente denken', in: Streven: Cultureel Maatschappelijk Maandblad, 5, mei, 426-437.

Badiou, A. (2016) Ode aan de liefde, vert. Ype de Boer en Robert Vinkesteijn. Amsterdam: Parrèsia.

Agamben, G. (2015) Profanaties, vert. Ype de Boer (nawoord: De belofte van de komende filosofie: het indifferente denken). Amsterdam: Boom.

De Boer, Y. M. & Goris, W. (2014) ‘Review: The Highest Poverty: Monastic rules and ‘Form-of-life’’. Nexus Instituut, Amsterdam, Jan. Available at:

De Boer, Y. M. (2013) ‘Het kwaad na de dood van God. Een wijsgerige thematisering van Dostojewski’s Schuld en Boete en Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange’, in: Corrie Dolmans (ed.), Geert Grote Pen 2013, Deventer: Deventer University Press.

De Boer, Y. M. (2010) ‘Review: Topkitsch en slow science: kritiek van de academische rede’. Amsterdam Law Forum, North America, 2, Oct. Available at:


  • B Philosophy (General)
  • Agamben
  • P Language and Literature
  • Murakami
  • Dostoyevsky
  • Burgess
  • B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
  • eroticism
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