TU Berlin

Institute of History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and LiteratureProf. Dr. Katja Krause

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Prof. Dr. Katja Krause


Secr. H 23
Straße des 17. Juni 135

10623 Berlin
Room: H 2533
Tel.: +49-30-314-24526/-73815



Office hours during the winter term 2019/2020:

on Mondays, 11.00 a.m. - 12.00 (noon)

(no registration required)

No office hours on November 19 and November 26.



Katja Krause is a historian of science and medicine, and a philosopher specializing in medieval thought and beyond. She received her PhD in 2014 from King’s College London for her dissertation entitled “Aquinas’ Philosophy of the Beatific Vision: A Textual Analysis of his Commentary on the Sentences in Light of its Greek, Arabic, and Latin Sources.” After her doctorate, Krause was awarded a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, where she worked on a series of articles that examine the empirical turn of the thirteenth century that emerged from the appropriation of Averroes’ commentaries on the corpus Aristotelicum. In 2016/17 she served as Assistant Professor in Medieval Thought at Durham University, UK, and in 2017/18 was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, supported by the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina – Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften. Krause is currently Leader of the Max Planck Research Group “Experience in the Pre-Modern Sciences of Soul and Body, ca. 800-1650,” jointly with a professorship at the Technische Universität Berlin. She is currently working on a book project, which is concerned with the notion of experience in medieval and Renaissance sciences of the living world.

Project Description: „Knowledge Ensouled: Premodern Experience of the Natural World"

Scientific experience underlies the unquestioned methods of observation and experimentation in all sciences of the living world today. Before the early modern era, logic and deductive methodology were assumed to hold this place—experience was, at best, believed to be a matter of the margins. Yet the category of experience among the historical actors reveals a different history.

In the Latin world of the sciences of soul and body, experience followed not the laws of nature, but the laws of the human mind. Construed by means of qualitative categories, such as touch, taste, smell, sound, and color, perceived as proper objects of the senses, experience was an implicitly shared phenomenon by all humans. Key proponents of the disciplines of zoology, botany, and scholarly medicine from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, such as Albert the Great, Arnald of Vilanova, Dino del Garbo, and Konrad Gessner, to name just a few, entertained developing ideals of the human soul, which, in turn, shaped and dominated the epistemic roles of experience in these sciences.

This project rewrites existing premodern histories of experience in the premodern Latin world by reconceptualizing the shifting epistemic values and procedural ideals that rendered experience constitutive of scientific knowledge in these sciences. It provides a detailed reconstruction of the nature of this scientific experience in all three disciplines, building its narrative on actors’ phenomenologies, for instance on the heterogeneity of the experiential data, the epistemic and conventional presuppositions of what counted as experiential knowledge. This history of premodern experience combines the perspectives of the history of science, medicine, and philosophy with those of social and cultural history.

Links to MPIWG Websites:

Krause: https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/users/kkrause

Krause Research Group: https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/research/departments/max-planck-research-group-premodern-sciences and https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/page/people-2 and https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/page/structure

Krause Project: https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/research/projects/knowledge-ensouled-premodern-experience-natural-world


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