I studied Philosophy, Dutch Language and Literature and Linguistics at Radboud University Nijmegen, passing the (pre-Bologna) Dutch doctoraalexamen in philosophy (MA) in 1993, with distinction. My MA dissertation "Facts and Events", in Philosophy of Language, was supervised by Pieter Seuren, whose intellectual passion and whose love of language and the people who speak it has never ceased to inspire me. My first academic post was at Leiden University, where I was a researcher in the Philosophy Department until 1999, division Ethics, Social Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture, where I worked on Whitehead's process philosophy under supervision of Wouter Oudemans. He taught me the difference between, as he called it, "real philosophy" and "philosophology", showing me that philosophy is not one of the sciences and does not use the methods of the sciences to increase knowledge. "Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. -Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain" (Wittgenstein). Or, in Whitehead's words, "philosophy is the eliciting of self-evidence". This idea, with far-reaching consequences, stayed with me and is responsible for much of the joys as well as the sorrows of my life in the academy. I look at our existence in speech through the lens of this view of the nature of philosophy and vice versa I think that the reflection on speech is a good place for this kind of philosophy to be done. I was a visiting researcher at Memorial University Newfoundland and Leuven University, working with James Bradley, whose notion of speculative metaphysics as concerned with strong theories of existence became formative for me. Then I left academia for a few years and I worked for Royal Dutch Shell in various roles between 1999 and 2006, learning about the forces that shape society, the futures we might make and how to imagine and shape them, individually and collectively. During that period I was also a part-time lecturer in Leiden. In 2006 I moved to the University of Central Lancashire, where I taught communication theory, philosophy of language, rhetoric and English language. In 2013 I was appointed Reader in Philosophy and Critical Theory in the English department. I designed and led the MA in Rhetoric there. The aim of the program was to educate conscious communicators, aware of what it means, in theory and in practice, to be a speaking being. I also have fond memories of my module "Language, Life and Thought", a title that sums up my core intellectual interests. In 2013 I joined Middlesex University. I have been an honorary visiting fellow, and later Associate Fellow, at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, since 2005, where my focus is on German thought, especially the philosophy of Ernst Bloch. I have also held visiting appointments at the University of Bochum and, as Erasmus lecturer, at the University of Tübingen and Tel Aviv University.
Dutch, German, French, English, Latin, Greek (classical).
I currently teach the following modules:
At the School of Advanced Study, University of London, I convene the German Philosophy Research Seminar. This year the topic is Martin Buber's Philosophy of Communication. The seminar is open to all.
As University Link Tutor I am involved in the BA, MA and PhD programs of Leo Baeck College, Theologisches Seminar Chrischona and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.
In my scholarly work I try to understand and articulate the meaning that words, spoken and written, have in the lives of people. We all have our experiences with words, or the lack of them, from the mundane to the sublime. Being able to articulate what is alive within us, to be heard and to be able to listen to others, lies at the heart of what it means to be human. We can hardly imagine being who we are, individually and with others, without it. We can hardly imagine a world open to the new without it. We can hardly imagine a moral universe without it. I work with ideas and insights from philosophy, communication theory, literature, art, religion, spirituality and psychoanalysis to find words for the role words play and offer people some ways to increase their awareness of what it means that we are speaking beings. I call this endeavour philosophy of communication.
My research is based in the Language and Communication Research Cluster. I am interested in philosophical dimensions of human communication, such as:
Closely related to these themes is my interest in Ernst Bloch's anticipatory philosophy of the unfinished world and of not-yet being. I am an honorary Associate Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where I lead the Ernst Bloch Centre for German Thought. I am Vice-President of the Ernst-Bloch-Gesellschaft, Ludwigshafen. With Keri Facer I edit Routledge Research in Anticipation and Futures and with Cosimo Zene the Marxism and Religion series (Rowman and Littlefield)
I often work in interdisciplinary contexts and use methods such as art practice as research, Bohmian dialogue, co-created and participatory research, next to more traditional scholarly approaches.
I am the founding and principal editor of Empedocles: European Journal for Philosophy of Communication and founder and former chair of the Section for Philosophy of Communication of the European Communication Research and Education Association.
With Paul Cobley (Language and Media) and Adrian Pablé (Hong Kong University, Department of English) I organise the annual Middlesex Roundtable on Signs, Language and Communication.
I am available for supervision in philosophy of language and communication, communication theory, critical theory and utopian thought, social theory, post-Kantian German philosophy, and metaphysics.
Siebers, Johan (2019) Ernst Bloch: Revue internationale de philosophie, 2019/3 (nu00b0 289). ISSN 0048-8143
Siebers, Johan (2019) Philosophy as rhetoric. Revue Internationale de Philosophie , 289 (3,2019). pp. 361-374. ISSN 0048-8143
Siebers, Johan (2019) Transgression: introduction to the special issue on Ernst Bloch. Revue Internationale de Philosophie , 289 (3,2019). pp. 251-260. ISSN 0048-8143
Bergman, Mats and Kirtiklis, Ku0119stas and Siebers, Johan , eds. (2019) Models of communication: theoretical and philosophical approaches. Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education, 15 . Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138294554
Siebers, Johan (2019) Being as communication: an exploratory model. In: Models of communication: theoretical and philosophical approaches. Bergman, Mats and Kirtiklis, Ku0119stas and Siebers, Johan , eds. Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education . Routledge, London, pp. 173-184. ISBN 9781138294554