Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy


Hanne Jacobs, PhD

Hanne Jacobs, PhD

An interview by Lauren Dennis

Dr. Hanne Jacobs is an Assistant Professor in her ­­­­fifth year of teaching philosophy here at Loyola University. She earned her PhD from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in December 2009 with a dissertation on Husserl and Leibniz.

Her teaching and research interests include the fields of twentieth-century European philosophy, phenomenology, early modern philosophy, and questions concerning personhood and self. She is currently working on a book on Husserl’s phenomenology of self-constitution.

How did you come to study philosophy, and what did you study?

After reading some philosophy in high school in Belgium, where I grew up, I decided to pursue a degree in philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Although I took classes in all the major areas in the history of philosophy, I quickly developed a specific interest in phenomenology, the philosophical movement started by Edmund Husserl around the turn of the twentieth century. The Institute of Philosophy in Leuven houses the Husserl Archives, which contain more than 40,000 manuscript pages written by Husserl. After completing a B.A. and an M.A. in Leuven, I started working at the Husserl Archives transcribing Husserl’s manuscripts from stenographic shorthand to standard German while conducting research on Husserl’s relation to Leibniz for my doctoral dissertation. I eventually completed my dissertation and published an edition of some of Husserl’s lectures on the history of philosophy soon after coming to Loyola.

What are your main research interests?

I have two main research interests. On the one hand, I have an abiding interest in understanding Husserl’s phenomenology in its historical context. For example, I am currently interested in understanding how Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy relates to developments in nineteenth-century psychology and neo-Kantian philosophy. On the other hand, I am also committed to showing how some key ideas from the phenomenological tradition are salient and philosophically compelling today. I am specifically interested in showing that a Husserlian account of personhood can contribute to contemporary discussions on topics such as personhood, deliberation, and rationality.

Other than philosophy, what are you passionate about?

When not reading philosophy, I very much enjoy reading literature, traveling, cooking, and observing the strange behavior of my cat, Ziggy.

What is your favorite aspect of studying philosophy?

Like most people in the profession, I am generally interested in much good work in philosophy. Of course, we all have to specialize at some point, and I am glad that I get to spend my time reading and talking and writing about phenomenology and contemporary accounts of personhood. However, I am also glad to be part of a department with strengths in many areas in the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy, which means that I can talk about many other things as well!