CV - English

Björn Thorsteinsson, dr.phil.

bjorntho (at)

Area of specialisation

19th and 20th century continental philosophy; more specifically, German idealism, phenomenology, poststructuralism, critique of ideology

Academic education

2005: Docteur en philosophie, Université Paris 8 (Vincennes–St. Denis).

Dissertation: La question de la justice chez Jacques Derrida (415 p.)

Supervisor: Professor Jacques Poulain

1997: M.A. in philosophy, University of Ottawa, Canada.

M.A. thesis: The relation of art and philosophy in Hegel’s aesthetics (117 p.)

Supervisor: Professor Douglas Moggach

1993: B.A. in philosophy, University of Iceland.

B.A. thesis: Fegurðin í því að hugsa um heiminn (The beauty of caring for the world), on the role of the ideas of reason in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (45 p.)

Supervisor: Professor Páll Skúlason

Academic affiliations

2016–: professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland

2014–16: assistant professor (lecturer) of philosophy at the University of Iceland

2009–2012: postdoctoral researcher at the University of Iceland

2007–09 and 2012–14: research scholar in philosophy at the University of Iceland

2004–14: part-time lecturer in philosophy at the University of Iceland, the Iceland Arts Academy and elsewhere

Board membership

2003–12 and 2014–17: member of the executive committee of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology

2008–10: president of the Icelandic Philosophical Society

2006–08: treasurer of the Icelandic Philosophical Society

1997–99: treasurer of the Icelandic Philosophical Society

1992–93: secretary of the Icelandic Philosophical Society

Editorial work

2009–: member of the editorial board of International Journal for the Semiotics of Law/Revue internationale de sémiotique juridique

2008–10: co-editor of Ritið, Journal of the Institute of Humanitites at the University of Iceland

2005–15: (co-)editor of Lærdómsrit Hins íslenska bókmenntafélags, a book series published by the Icelandic Literary Society, specialising in philosophy and the literature of antiquity and of the Middle Ages

2004–07: editor of Hugur, Journal of the Icelandic Philosophical Society

Research projects, grants and scholarships

2020–: Participant in the project “Mobilities at the Margins”, funded by the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannsóknasjóður)

2020–: Member (ESR supervisor) of the network The Future of European Independent Art Spaces in a Period of Socially Engaged Art (FEINART), an Innovative Training Network supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of Horizon 2020

2018–20: Principal investigator, with Sigríður Þorgeirsdóttir and Donata Schoeller, of the research project “Embodied Critical Thinking (ECT)”, funded by the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannsóknasjóður)

2009–12: Postdoctoral scholarship at the University of Iceland

2008–09: Research scholarship (as project manager) from the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannsóknasjóður) – name of project: “Nature in the light of phenomenology and eastern philosophy”

2002: Graduate scholarship from the Icelandic Research Council (Rannís)

1999–2001: Boursier du gouvernement français

1994–96: Teaching and Research Scholarship, University of Ottawa

Books (selection – see also Icelandic list of publications)

La question de la justice chez Jacques Derrida. Paris, L’Harmattan 2007 (more...)

Scholarly articles (selection – see also Icelandic list of publications)

William Konchak and Björn Þorsteinsson, “Idea, Concept and Symbol in Hegel and Gadamer”, Philosophical Readings 13:2 (2021), pp. 163–170.

“From différance to justice: Derrida and Heidegger’s ‘Anaximander’s Saying’”, Continental Philosophy Review 48:2 (2015), pp. 255–271 (DOI 10.1007/s11007-015-9326-4)

“Inheriting Revolution: Responding to Kant and Foucault on the Claim of the Past”, pp. 177–185 in Monument and Memory, eds Jonna Bornemark, Mattias Martinson and Jayne Svenungsson, Zürich and Münster, LIT Verlag 2015

Marianne E. Klinke, Dan Zahavi, Haukur Hjaltason, Björn Thorsteinsson and Helga Jónsdóttir, “‘Getting the Left Right’: The Experience of Hemispatial Neglect After Stroke“, Qualitative Health Research 25:12 (2015), pp. 1623–1636, DOI: 10.1177/1049732314566328

“Jacques Derrida, The Death Penalty, Volume I” (review), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, August 2014

“Writing the Violence of Time: Derrida Beyond the Deconstruction of Metaphysics”, pp. 150–165 in A Companion to Derrida, eds Zeynep Direk and Leonard Lawlor, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell 2014

Marianne E. Klinke, Björn Þorsteinsson and Helga Jónsdóttir, “Advancing Phenomenological Research: Applications of ‘Body Schema’, ‘Body Image’, and ‘Affordances’ in Neglect”, Qualitative Health Research 24:6 (2014), pp. 824–836

“Left (in) time: Hegel, Benjamin, and Derrida facing the status quo”, pp. 173–186 in Jewish Thought, Utopia, and Revolution, eds Elena Namli, Jayne Svenungsson and Alana M. Vincent, Amsterdam and New York, Rodopi 2014

“Flesh and différance: Derrida and Merleau-Ponty”, pp. 251-260 in Corporeity and Affectivity: Dedicated to Maurice Merleau-Ponty, eds Karel Novotný, Pierre Rodrigo, Jenny Slatman and Silvia Stoller, Leiden, Brill 2014

Marianne E. Klinke, Þóra B. Hafsteinsdóttir, Björn Þorsteinsson and Helga Jónsdóttir, “Living at home with eating difficulties following stroke: A phenomenological study of younger people’s experiences”, Journal of Clincal Nursing 23:1–2 (January 2014), pp. 250–260

“Saen kara Seigi e : Derrida to Heidegger no ‘Anaximandros no Kotoba’”, trans. Daisuke Kamei, Genshôgaku Nenpô/Annual Review of the Phenomenological Association of Japan 27 (2011), pp. 49–61

“Jacques Derrida”, pp. 113–122 in Sebastian Luft and Søren Overgaard (eds), The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, London, Routledge 2011

“The future of emancipation: Inheriting the messianic promise in Derrida and others”, pp. 183–204 in Jonna Bornemark and Hans Ruin (eds), Phenomenology and religion: New frontiers, Huddinge, Södertörn University 2010

Quid juris? Quid facti?: D’une nouvelle tentative de relever une opposition capitale”, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law/Revue international de sémiotique juridique 22 (2009), pp. 253–258

“Spiselig retfærdighed? Smuler om, fra og af Derridas Glas” (“An edible justice? Fragments on, from and of Derrida’s Glas”), K&K (Kultur og Klasse. Kritik og Kulturanalyse) 99 (1/2005), pp. 15–37 [in Danish]

“Possibilities of the impossible: Derrida’s idea of justice and negative theology”, Svensk teologisk kvartalsskrift (Swedish theological quarterly) 78 (3/2002), pp. 121–131

Official lectures (selection)

“Sensing resistance? On Derrida’s reading of Maine de Biran”. The Research Colloquium Posterities of Maine de Biran’s Physio-Spiritualism in the 20th Century, held online by the University of Regensburg, 26 September 2020

“Embodiment, crisis, thinking: Phenomenology and/at the origin of perception”. Invited session on Embodied Critical Thinking at the World Congress of Philosophy, Beijing, 15 August 2018

“Consciousness and embodiment: Towards a phenomenological reappraisal of the measurement problem”. First Annual Conference on Phenomenological Approaches to Physics, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, 15 June 2018

“Communication, iteration, repetition: Bohr and Derrida on matter and meaning”. Annual conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology, University of Gdansk, 20 April 2018

“Between the one and the many: Tracking identity and difference through poststructuralism, phenomenology and quantum physics – and beyond”. Conference of The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, University of Iceland, 16 May 2015

“Mattering, writing, flesh: Sketching the onto-politics of new materialism”. Conference on New Materialist Methodologies: Gender, Politics, the Digital (Fifth Annual Conference on New Materialisms), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona 26 September 2014

“Inheriting revolution: Responding to Kant and Foucault on the claim of the past”. The conference Monument and Memory, held by the Nordic Society for the Philosophy of Religion, Teologiska högskolan, Stockholm, 16 June 2013

“Setting the Sails: Hegel, Benjamin and Derrida facing the status quo”. The conference Jewish Thought, Utopia and Revolution held by Uppsala University Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and European Humanities University, Vilnius, 27 June 2012

“At the sources of objectivity: Meillassoux and phenomenology”. Annual conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology, University of Oslo, 8 June 2012

“Democracy and Power: Ideas towards a precarious harmony”. Third EurAsia Network Symposium, Mapping the two corners of EurAsia: Harmony as a historical, philosophical and socio-political theme, University of Iceland, 23 August 2011

“From différance to justice: Derrida and Heidegger’s ‘Anaximander’s Saying’”. Plenary presentation at the annual meeting of the Phenomenological Association of Japan, University of Tokyo, 27 November 2010

“The corporation, the nation and the people: Reflections from a state of failure”. Contribution to the symposium The Nordic 3rd World Country – Panic or Possiblity? at Färgfabriken, Stockholm, 26 August 2010

“Responsively entangled: Merleau-Ponty meets Niels Bohr.” Seminar presentation at the annual symposium of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology at Södertörns högskola, Stockholm, 24 April 2010

“Nature and meaning: Rereading Merleau-Ponty on flesh and nature.” Seminar presentation at the annual symposium of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology in Tampere, Finland, 24 April 2009

“The future of emancipation: Inheriting the messianic promise in Derrida and others.” Presentation at the conference “Phenomenology and Religion: New Frontiers” in Stockholm, 15 May 2008

“Flesh and différance: Derrida and Merleau-Ponty.” Corporeity and Affectivity, Fifth Central and Eastern European Conference on Phenomenology, Prague, 1 October 2008

“Striving to be the same? Remarks on self and other in Derrida, Husserl and Hegel.” Seminar presentation at the annual symposium of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology in Copenhagen, 22 April 2007

“Staying awhile: Heidegger, Anaximander and Derrida’s idea of justice.” Invited lecture at the second Swedish-Finnish phenomenological workshop, organized by Research Group in Europen Thought at the University of Helsinki and by Södertörn University College, at Södertörn University College, Stockholm, 7 October 2005

Différance – of the limits of phenomenology.” Plenary lecture at the annual symposium of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology at Södertörn University College, Stockholm, 23 April 2004

“A commentary to Jayne Svenungsson’s lecture.” Short comment at a conference on contemporary French theology and philosophy at the University of Lund, Sweden, 14 September 2002

“Possibilities of the impossible: Derrida’s idea of justice and negative theology.” Lecture at a conference on philosophy and religion, held by the Nordic Institute for Philosophy at Södertörn University College, Stockholm, 7 June 2002

Scholarly translations (into Icelandic)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Heimur skynjunarinnar (The World of Perception/Causeries 1948), trans. Steinar Örn Atlason and Björn Þorsteinsson, Reykjavík, Heimspekistofnun and Háskólaútgáfan 2017

Maurizio Lazzarato, “Nýfrjálshyggja og framleiðsla sjálfsveruleikans” (“Néoliberalisme et production de subjectivité”), Hugur – tímarit um heimspeki 25 (2013), pp. 114–119

Dan Zahavi, “Hið margslungna sjálf: Sjónarhorn reynslu og fræða” (“The complex self: Empirical and theoretical perspectives”), trans. Björn Þorsteinsson and Jóhann Helgi Heiðdal þýddu, Hugur – tímarit um heimspeki 24 (2012), pp. 175–196

Gabriel Malenfant, “Inngangur að heimspeki Emmanuels Levinas” (Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’ thinking),  Hugur 21 (2009), pp. 144–156

Peter Hallward, “Núllstilling á Haítí” (“Option Zero in Haiti”), Ritið 1/2009, pp. 111–140

Giorgio Agamben, “Við flóttamenn” (“We refugees”), Nei. web-magazine, 23 February 2009

Dan Zahavi, Fyrirbærafræði (Fænomenologi/Phenomenology). Reykjavík, Heimspekistofnun Háskóla Íslands 2008

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Formáli að Fyrirbærafræði skynjunarinnar” (Preface to Phenomenology of Perception), translated by Jón Laxdal Halldórsson, Páll Skúlason and Björn Þorsteinsson, Hugur 20 (2008), pp. 113–126

Jóhann Páll Árnason, “Oswald Spengler og Halldór Laxness”, Skírnir 181 (fall 2007), pp. 406–431

Páll Skúlason, “Kreppa háskóla og kjarni háskólastarfs”, Skírnir 181 (fall 2007), pp. 381–405

Pierre Bourdieu, “Kjarni nýfrjálshyggjunnar” (“L’essence du néolibéralisme”), Almenningsálitið er ekki til, Reykjavík, Reykjavíkurakademían and Omdúrman 2007, pp. 115–124

Arlette Elkaïm Sartre, “Fyrirlestur Sartres í sögulegu samhengi”, pp. 119–129 in Jean-Paul Sartre, Tilvistarstefnan er mannhyggja, Reykjavík, Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag 2007

Páll Skúlason, “Ritgerðin endalausa – eða vandinn að komast inn í Derrida”, translated by Björn Þorsteinsson and Haukur Már Helgason, Hugur 17 (2005), pp. 118–128

Michel Foucault, “Líkami hinna dæmdu” (“The body of the condemned”), “Alsæishyggjan” (“Panopticism”), “Við hinir, viktoríumenn” (“We ‘other Victorians’”), “Bælingartilgátan” (“The repressive hypothesis”), “Nietzsche, sifjafræði, saga” (“Nietzsche, genealogy, history”), pp. 95–240 in Alsæi, vald og þekking (Panopticism, power and knowledge). Reykjavík, Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands 2005

Slavoj Žižek, “Fjármálaheimurinn svarar í sömu mynt: Um þriðja þátt Stjörnustríða” (“‘La guerre des étoiles’, episode 3: Une revanche de la finance mondiale…”), Lesbók Morgunblaðsins 4 June 2005

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Samfélagssáttmálinn (The Social Contract), translated by Björn Thorsteinsson and Már Jónsson. Reykjavík, Hið íslenzka bókmenntafélag 2004

Gilles Deleuze, “Hvernig Siðfræðin greinir sig frá hvers kyns siðferði” (“Sur la différence de l’Éthique avec une Morale”, chapter ii of Deleuze’s Spinoza: Philosophie pratique), Hugur 16 (2004), pp. 170–179

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Heimspekingurinn og félagsfræðin” (“Le philosophe et la sociologie”), pp. 119–140 in Róbert Jack and Ármann Halldórsson (eds.), Hvað er heimspeki? (What is philosophy?). Reykjavík, Hugvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands 2001

Carlo Ginzburg, “Einsaga: Eitt og annað sem ég veit um hana” (“Microhistory: Two or three things that I know about it”), translated by Sigrún Sigurðardóttir and Björn Thorsteinsson, pp. 11–54 in Carlo Ginzburg, Davíð Ólafsson and

Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon, Molar og mygla: Um einsögu og glataðan tíma (Crumbs and mildew: On microhistory and lost time). Reykjavík, Bjartur/Reykjavíkurakademían 2000

Alain Touraine, “Lof hins frjálslynda lýðræðis” (“Éloge de la démocratie libérale”), pp. 70–82 in Hjálmar Sveinsson and Irma Erlings dóttir (eds.), Framtíð lýðræðis á tímum hnattvæðingar (The future of democracy in times of globalisation). Reykjavík, Bjartur/Reykjavíkur akadem ían 2000

Logi Gunnarsson, “Að skilja lífið og ljá því merkingu” (”Making sense of our lives”), Skírnir 171 (spring 1997), pp. 111–141

Philippa Foot, “Siðferði og sannfæringar” (“Moral Beliefs”), pp. 207–224 in Einar Logi Vignisson and Ólafur Páll Jónsson (eds.), Heimspeki á tuttugustu öld (Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, a collection of essays by Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Anscombe, Quine, Popper, Kuhn, Hacking et al.). Reykjavík, Heimskringla 1994

Literary translations

Georges Bataille, Saga augans (Histoire de l’œil). Reykjavík, Forlagið/Tekknólamb 2001

Hans Henny Jahnn, Blýnótt (Die Nacht aus Blei), translated by Geir Sigurðsson and Björn Thorsteinsson. Reykjavík, Forlagið/Tekknólamb 2000