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Doc. Niklas Forsberg, PhD.


Research interests

Philosophy and Literature, Philosophy of Language, Iris Murdoch, Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Philosophical Methodology, Ordinary Language Philosophy, Philosophy of Love, Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophy and Film, Moral Perfectionism, Stanley Cavell

Forsberg’s areas of expertise are placed where logic and metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics intersect. Central themes of Forsberg’ research are questions about what carries philosophical conviction and of how our most fundamental beliefs are to be reconsidered or even expressed and elucidated.

Education and Degrees (Academic)

1.    Docent (≈Associate Professor) in Philosophy, The University of Helsinki (2016).
2.    Docent (≈Associate Professor) in Theoretical Philosophy, Uppsala University (2013).
3.    PhD in Theoretical Philosophy. Uppsala University (2005).
4.    Master of Arts, Uppsala University (1999).

Teaching Experience (in selection)

20th Century Philosophy
J. L. Austin and the Ordinary
Film and Philosophy
Philosophy and Literature
Introduction to Phenomenology
Narrative as a form of Human Understanding
History of Philosophy
Philosophy of the Human Sciences
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Science


I am a docent in Theoretical Philosophy at Uppsala University, and a docent in philosophy at the University of Helsinki. I have been a visiting Researcher at Åbo Academy University (2009-2010), a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at the University of Chicago (2012-2013), and most recently a Research Fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Study (2016-2017).


1. Language Lost and Found: On Iris Murdoch and the Limits of Philosophical Discourse (New York: Bloomsbury 2013 [paperback 2015])
2. Philosophy, Literature and the Inheritance of Language, diss. (Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2004)

Books (Anthologies)
3. Language, Ethics and Animal Life: Wittgenstein and Beyond, edited by Niklas Forsberg, Mikel Burley and Nora Hämäläinen (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012)
4. Making a Difference: Rethinking Humanism and the Humanities, edited by Niklas Forsberg & Susanne Jansson (Stockholm: Thales, 2011)
5. Acknowledging Stanley Cavell, with commentaries by Stanley Cavell, edited by Niklas Forsberg & Susanne Jansson (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 56, 2009)
6. Tankar tillägnade Sören Stenlund, edited by Niklas Forsberg, Sharon Rider och Pär Segerdahl (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 54, 2008)

1. “Taking the Linguistic Method Seriously: On Iris Murdoch on Language and Linguistic Philosophy” (forthcoming) in Murdoch on Truth and Love, edited by Gary Browning (London: Palgrave MacMillan 2018).
2. “Carver, Cavell and the Uncanniness of the Ordinary” (forthcoming) in The New Literary History, 2017.
3. “Thinking about a Word – Love, for Example,” in Metaphilosophy, Vol. 48, Nos. 1–2, January 2017.
4. “Narrativity in Variation: On Merleau-Ponty and Murdoch on Literary and Philosophical Narratives” (forthcoming) in Palgrave Macmillan Handbook of Philosophy and Literature, eds. Michael Mack and Barry Stocker (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).
5. “M and D and Me: Iris Murdoch and Stanley Cavell on Perfectionism and Self-Transformation” (forthcoming), Iride. Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate, 2017)
6. “Where’s the Disagreement? J. L. Austin and A. J. Ayer on the Significance of the Ordinary,” in Language and Communication, 49, 2016.
7. “&c.: On Linguistic Regularity, Normativity and Language Acquisition” (forthcoming) in A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education: Pedagogical Investigations, edited by Michael A. Peters & Jeff Stickney (Springer, 2017).
8. “The Imperfect Soul and the Magnetic Perfection: Iris Murdoch on Love” (forthcoming), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Love, edited by Cristopher Grau & Aaron Smuts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)
9. “From Self-Reliance to that which Relies: Emerson and Critique as Self-Criticism” (forthcoming), Educational Philosophy and Theory, 2017.
10. “The Grammar of Pain,” Sats: Northern European Journal of Philosophy, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2015.
11. “A New Conception of Original Sin?” The Heythrop Journal, vol. 56, issue 2, 2015.
12. “The Categorical and the Everyday: On Coetzee, Murdoch and Cavell and the Presence of Philosophy in Novels,” Philosophy and Literature, Volume 39, No. 1A, September 2015.
13. “R. G. Collingwood on Philosophical and Literary Language,” Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, Vol. 18, No, 1, 2012.
14. “Different Forms of Forms of Life: A Philosophical Introduction”, in Language, Ethics and Animal Life: Wittgenstein and Beyond, edited by Niklas Forsberg, Mikel Burley and Nora Hämäläinen (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012)
15. “Knowing and Not Knowing What a Human Being Is,” pp. 1—17 in SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 12, 1/ 2011.
16. “Dogma: Vi är alla stygga barn” pp. 176–190 in Norsk filosofisk tidsskrift, vol. 44, nr 3–4, 2009.
17. “A Philosophy Less Ordinary”, pp. 123—146 in Acknowledging Stanley Cavell, ed. Niklas Forsberg and Susanne Jansson, including a commentary by Stanley Cavell, (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 56, 2009)
18. “Smärtans grammatik” in Att tänka smärtan, eds. Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback and Hans Ruin (Södertörn: Södertörn Philosophical Studies, 2009)*
19. “Filosofins ordblindhet eller Dyslexin som filosofins början” pp. 261—285 in Tankar tillägnade Sören Stenlund, eds. Niklas Forsberg, Sharon Rider and Pär Segerdahl (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 54, 2008)
20. “Den ensamma tankens tyngd. Ensamhet och språklig gemenskap” pp. 187—208 in Den moderna ensamheten, eds. Sharon Rider and Maria Karlsson (Stockholm: Symposion, 2006).


1. “From Positivist Rabbi to Resolute Reader. James Conant in Conversation with Niklas Forsberg, Part 1,” in Nordic Wittgenstein Review, 2 (2013).
2. “Inheriting Wittgenstein: James Conant in Conversation with Niklas Forsberg, Part 2” (forthcoming) in Nordic Wittgenstein Review (2017)


1. Review of Action, Decision-Making and Forms of Life, edited. by Padilla Gálvez, Jesús, in Notre Dame Philosophical Review NDPR, (2016).

Work in Progress (In selection)

1. Lectures on a Philosophy Less Ordinary: J. L. Austin and the Return to the Realities We Use Words to Talk About

1. “On the Call for a New Vocabulary: Rorty vs. Murdoch”
2. “The Virtues of Perfectionism and The Imperfections of Virtue Ethics”
3. “The Undesirability of the Eternal Sunshine and the Unfeasibility of the Spotless Mind”
4. “M and D and L and H: Iris Murdoch’s Conceptual Renegotiations in the Light of C. S. Lewis’ Work of Morning
5. “Sharing Your Sorrow”
6. “Logic – Grammar – Logic: On the Continuous Struggle for Conceptual Clarity in Wittgenstein’s Work”

Key Note Addresses & Invited Lectures

1. Keynote speaker at the conference What’s Wrong (and What’s Right) with Ordinary Language Philosophy? May 5-6 2017, Åbo Akademi, Finland.
2. Invited speaker at VitForum (Vitenskapsteoretisk forum [Forum for Theory of Science”]) NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, January 31, 2017.
3. Keynote speaker at Literature, Philosophy, Ethics: The 2016 PAL (Philosophy, Art, Literature) Young Scholars Workshop, Duke University, USA. February 2016.
4. Invited speaker at the conference: Why Murdoch Matters: Truth and Love, at Oxford 13-14th November 2015.
5. Invited speaker at the workshop Love’s Passion: Philosophical Perspectives on Love, The Department of Philosophy, the University of Hertfordshire, UK. September 2014.
6. Invited speaker at the workshop Wittgenstein and Philosophical Authorship, the University of Helsinki, October 3-4, 2008.
7. Invited speaker, “Philosophy and / or / as literature,” Philosophical Association, Uppsala University, February 2006)

Conferences & Workshop Organization

(2016) Wittgenstein and Pragmatism, co-arranged by Nordic Wittgenstein Society, Nordic Pragmatist Network, and Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies.
(2010) Language, Ethics and Animal Life, 1st Annual Conference of the Nordic Wittgenstein Society. With financial support from The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation
(2009) Murdoch Symposium, Uppsala University. With financial support from SALT (Forum for Advanced Studies in Arts, Languages, Theology)
(2008) Symposium on Collingwood’s Philosophy, Uppsala University.
(2006) Department of Philosophy, in collaboration with the division of Aesthetics and the Stockholm Film Institute: International conference, “Making a Difference: Rethinking the Humanities,” financed by the Swedish Research Council (culminating with the anthology Making a Difference: Rethinking Humanism and the Humanities, edited by Niklas Forsberg & Susanne Jansson (Stockholm: Thales, 2011)
(2006) International conference on the Philosophy of Stanley Cavell which resulted in the volume: Acknowledging Stanley Cavell, including commentaries by Stanley Cavell, edited by Niklas Forsberg & Susanne Jansson (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 56, 2009).


Forsberg is editor of the book series Nordic Wittgenstein Studies, published by Springer ( ), and on the editorial board of the Nordic Wittgenstein Review.
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