Dorothea Debus

MA, BPhil, DPhil, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy with a special focus on Philosophy of Language and Mind

I grew up in Speyer (on the Rhine, in Germany), and as an undergraduate I studied in Munich (MA, LMU Munich 1998); I then moved to the UK for my graduate studies, obtaining a BPhil (2000) and a DPhil (2004) from the University of Oxford. From 2004 to 2007 I worked as a Supernumerary Teaching Fellow at St. John's College, Oxford, and from October 2007 until March 2019 I was first a Lecturer, later a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York. In April 2019 I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Konstanz, where I now work as a Professor of Theoretical Philosophy. I retain a link to my old department as an Honorary Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the University of York.

My main area of research is the Philosophy of Mind: A substantial part of my published work is concerned with the mental phenomenon of memory; but I have also written on various other mental phenomena – the imagination, attention, perception and the emotions. More recently my research has focused on a more general feature of our mental lives, namely the fact that we sometimes can be, and often also are, actively involved with how our own mental lives develop; I ask how we might possibly account for this ability, and explore its axiological implications. This project bears the working title 'Shaping Our Mental Lives', and some of its core ideas are introduced in Debus (2016-c) and Debus (2020) (see 'Publications' below).

Office hours

Office hours take place on appointment. Please send a message to the secretary: email.


Please find the current teachings here 



  • (2007-a), ‛Being Emotional About the Past: On the Nature and Role of Past-Directed Emotions', in Nous 41. 758–779.
  • (2007-b), 'Perspectives on the Past: A Study of the Spatial Perspectival Characteristics of Recol­lec­tive Memories', in Mind and Language 22. 173–206.
  • (2008), 'Experiencing the Past: A Relational Account of Recollective Memory', in Dialectica 62. 405–432.
  • (2010), 'Accounting for Epistemic Relevance: A New Problem for the Causal Theory of Memory', in American Philosophical Quarterly 47. 17–29.
  • (2013), 'Thinking about the Past and Experiencing the Past', in Mind and Language 28. 20–54.
  • (2013 / 2015), 'Losing Oneself (In a Good Way): On the Value of Full Attention', in European Journal of Philosophy, published with early view online in August 2013, DOI: 10.1111/ejop. 12045, now also in print: vol 23 (2015). 1174–1191.
  • (2014), 'Mental Time Travel: Remembering the Past, Imagining the Future, and the Parti­cularity of Events', in Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5. 333–350.
  • (2016-a), 'Imagination and Memory', in A. Kind (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge. 135–148.
  • (2016-b), 'Temporal Perspectives in Imagination: On the Nature and Value of Imagining the Future', in: Michaelian, K., Klein, S. and Szpunar, K. (eds.), Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Oxford University Press. 217–240.
  • (2016-c), 'Shaping Our Mental Lives: On the Possibility of Mental Self-Regulation', in: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116. 341–365.
  • (2017), 'Memory Causation', in: Bernecker, S. and Michaelian, K. (eds.), Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. 63–75.
  • (2018-a), 'Memory, Imagination and Narrative', in F. Macpherson and F. Dorsch (eds.), Mem­ory and Imagination. Oxford University Press. 72–95
  • (2018-b), 'Handle with Care: Activity, Passivity, and the Epistemological Role of Recollective Memories', in: Michaelian, K., Debus, D. and Perrin, D. (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. 119–136.
  • (2020), 'Shaping Our Mental Lives: On the Value of Mental Self-Control and Mental Self-Regulation', in: Mele, A. (ed.), Surrounding Self-Control. Oxford University Press. 225-242.
  • together with Richardson, L. (2022), 'Rather than succour, my memories bring eloquent stabs of pain: On the ambiguous role of memory in grief', in: Journal of Consciousness Studies 29. 36-62.
  • (forthcoming), 'Right Here, Right Now: On the (Eudaimonic) Value of Perceptual Awareness', in: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Mind, vol. 3.
  • (forthcoming): 'On Memory, Testimony and Our Ability to Learn from the Past', in: Goldberg, S. and Wright, S. (eds.), Memory and Testimony. Oxford University Press.
  • (forthcoming): 'Relationalism, Acquaintance and Subjectivity: Some Metaphysical Implications', in: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Mind.

Co-Edited Book

  • Michaelian, K., Debus, D. and Perrin, D. (eds.) (2018), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. London: Routledge.

Book Reviews

  • (2009), ‘Review of S. Roedl, Self-Consciousness’, in Mind 118. 1174–1180.
  • (2014), ‘Review of A. Morton, Emotion and Imagination’, in Analysis 74. 736–738.
  • (2015), ‘Review of L. O'Brien, Self-Knowing Agents’, in Mind 124. 1347–1352.
  • (2017), ‘Review of K. Michaelian, Mental Time Travel’, in Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 404–407.

Virtual Office

You can access the virtual office using the following link