Prof. Dr. Nicole C. Karafyllis

» Contact

Prof. Dr. Nicole C. Karafyllis, Full Professor of Philosophy

Institute of Philosophy
Bienroder Weg 80 (Room 024, Secretary 023)
D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 531 / 391 86 16

» CV

Born 1970 in Lüdinghausen/Westfalia (Germany) as child of a German mother and a Greek father, grown up in Nürnberg/Nuremberg, Bavaria and Athens (Greece). Parallel studies in biology and philosophy at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Tübingen and Frankfurt am Main (there having been Post-Doc and later Assistant Professor in the years 1998-2008). Visiting student 1992 at Stirling University (Scotland, UK) and 1997 at Ain Shams University in Cairo (Egypt). 1994 Diplom (= M.Sc.) in Biology and Philosophy (Erlangen), 1999 PhD in Tübingen at the International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW), 2006 Habilitation (= "2nd PhD" in the Continental European university system, qualifying the candidate for a Full Professorship) in Stuttgart in Philosophy (venia legendi). 2007 Visiting Professor for Applied Philosophy of Science at Vienna University (Austria). 2008 Full Professor of Philosophy at the United Arab Emirates University (Abu Dhabi, UAE). 2010 Full Professor at the Technische Universität Braunschweig and Chair of the Philosophy Institute (rotating).

José Gaos: Filosofía de la Técnica, Herder Mexico, forthcoming 2022

» Research Areas

Philosophy of Science and Technology (partic. at the interface of Biotec and Engineering), STS, Anthropology, Applied Ethics (partic. Environmental and Engineering Ethics, Bioethics), Phenomenology, Intercultural Philosophy (part. the Arab World), Philosophy of Nature, Technics/Technology in a history of ideas perspective, History of Philosophy

Prof. Karafyllis was part of a bigger international project, entitled "Intercultural perspectives on science education and technology literacy" (TECHcultures) with her Braunschweig colleague Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Duddeck (Engineering) and Prof. Ortwin Renn (Stuttgart University, Sociology of Technology and the Environment), at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences in 2011-2014 (book at Routledge, 2015). From spring 2015 until end of 2017 she was working with her colleagues from Munich (TUM, LMU) on the collaborative project "The language of biofacts: semantics and materiality of highly industrialized plants", funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany). See the project-webpage here. Karafyllis' project focuses on the order schemes of living collections, i.e. seed and gene banks, including microbial resource centers (collaborative research project MIKROBIB: Contamination and Readability of the World: Articulating Microbes in Collections, 2018-2021). How the philosopher Hans Blumenberg inspired the methodology, can be read here. One of the many results is a digital exhibition "The contaminated Library: Microbes in Book Culture" (2021, with transl. catalogue in English open access in Sept. 2023) at the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek / German Digital Library (DDB).

She is particularly interested in plants as utopy of the non-technical and as non-animal (anthropology/ontology). In addition, she works on laboratory methods in biotec that have emerged from plant research, e.g. cloning and transplantation (philosophy of science and technology), melting into a theory of biofacts.

In the history of philosophy, she has published repeatedly on early modern times (see for instance the 2 vols co-edited on Francis Bacon and his Contemporaries at Brill, Boston/Leiden 2008), while her area of specialization is early 20th century German philosophy, where philosophy of technology and philosophy of life and of culture shared intersections. Karafyllis has been working on a voluminous biography of the philosopher Willy Moog (1888-1935) who founded Braunschweig's Institute of Philosophy, which was published January 2015 under the title: "WILLY MOOG (1888-1935): Ein Philosophenleben", Freiburg: Karl Alber (2nd ed. 2016). Currently, she is researching on the biographies and works of Moog's friend and philosopher Herman Schmalenbach (1885-1950) and of the Spanish-Mexican philosopher José Gaos (book forthcoming in 2022, Herder México). All relate to her area of expertise, the philosophy of Georg Simmel and his scholars (several publications, incl. in the Georg Simmel-Handbook, Metzler/Springer 2021).

» Publications in English, Spanish and French

For her German publications, please switch to the German website.


  • [Book] Nicole C. Karafyllis, Jörg Overmann, Ulrich J. Schneider, Christoph Mackert [Eds]: The Contaminated Library. Microbes in Book Culture. Leipzig, 2022, open access. Download via the document server of the University Library of Leipzig 2023.
  • "Willy Moog" and "Herman Schmalenbach" in Denis Thouard (Hg.): Les Enfants de Georg Simmel, Paris 2023 (forthcoming)
  • [Book] José Gaos: Filosofía de la Técnica. Edicion: María Antonia González Valerio y Nicole C. Karafyllis: Ciudad de México: Herder México 2022
  • Waszynski, A./Karafyllis, N. C.: Re-Collecting Microbes with Hans Blumenberg’s Concept of Reoccupation (»Umbesetzung«): from Isolating/Cultivating towards Digitizing/Synthesizing. In: Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung 11 (1), 2020, 95-115 (open access)
  • Biofacts, Bioprospecting, Biobanking: A reality check of seed banks, in Sabine Maasen, Sascha Dickel, Christoph Schneider (Eds.): TechnoScienceSociety: Technological Reconfigurations of Science and Society. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer 2020, 131-156.
  • Posthumanism does not exist. In: The Large Glass. Journal for Contemporary Art, Culture and Theory Nr. 27/28 (Dez. 2019), 37


  • Karafyllis, N. C.: The virtuous autist. Why neuroelitism does not work for the common good. In: Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Andrea Bettels [Eds.]: Im Korsett der Tugenden / In the Corset of VirtuesMoral und Geschlecht im kulturhistorischen Kontext. Hildesheim: Olms, 85-123.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Ser nerd. In Sara Hillnhütter et al. [Eds.]: Glosario de términos inflacionarios. Mexico City: Herder Mexico, 215-224. (in Spanish)
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Biofactos del arte. In María Antonia González Valerio [Ed.]: Pròs Bíon: Reflexiones sobre artes, ciencias y filosofías. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 2015, 61-88. (in Spanish)
  • [Book] (Ed. with Ortwin Renn et al.): International Science and Technology Education: Exploring Culture, Economy and Social Perceptions. London: Routledge 2015 (256 pp.)
  • Karafylis, N. C.: Why ‚technology‘ is not universal. In: O. Renn, N.C. Karafyllis, A. Hohlt, D. Taube [Eds.]: International Science and Technology Education: Exploring Culture, Economy, and Social Perceptions. London: Routledge 2015, 3-18.
  • Karafylis, N. C. (2015): Tertiary education in the GCC countries (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia): how economy, gender and culture affect the field of STEM. In: O. Renn, N.C. Karafyllis, A. Hohlt, D. Taube [Eds.]: International Science and Technology Education: Exploring Culture, Economy, and Social Perceptions. London: Routledge 2015, 112-133.
  • Review on V. Nazarea et al. [Eds.], Seeds of Resistance - Seeds of Hope (Univ. of Arizona Press 2013), in Journal of Economic Botany 69 (4)/2015, 377-378.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: “Technics” and “Technology” in Arabic language contexts. In Jahrbuch Technikphilosophie 2016, Zurich: diaphanes 2016, 271-281.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: “Hey Plants, Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” The Ethics of Seeds and Seed Banks. In Angela Kallhoff, Marcello Di Paola, Maria Schörgenhumer (Eds.): Plant Ethics. Concepts and Applications. (Routledge Environmental Humanities) London: Routledge 2018, 188-203


  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Renewable resources and the idea of nature – what has biotechnology got to do with it? Journal for Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (1), 2003, 3-28.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Essay review of: Bredekamp, Horst: Darwins Korallen. Frühe Evolutionsmodelle und die Tradition der Naturgeschichte. Berlin: Wagenbach 2005. Journal of the History of Biology 39 (2), 2006
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Growth of Biofacts: the real thing or metaphor?. In: R. Heil, A. Kaminski, M. Stippack, A. Unger and M. Ziegler (Ed.): Tensions and Convergences. Technological and Aesthetic (Trans)Formations of Society. Bielefeld: transcript publishers 2007, 141-152.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Essay review of Inken Rebentrost: Das Labor in der Box (2005). Journal for History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 29 (2007), 107-110.
  • [Book] Karafyllis, N. C. and G. Ulshöfer (Eds.): Sexualized Brains. Scientific Modeling of Emotional Intelligence from a Cultural Perspective. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2008.

    Review in (Marion Ledwig), Review in (Sigrid Schmitz), review in CHOICES 06/09, review in Journal for Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Springer Publ.), June 2009 (Lara Huber), review in KARM, Oct. 2009, Review in Medicine Studies (Springer Publ.), Vol. 4, Nr. 1 (2009), pp. 407-408 (Antje Kampf), review in Kultur und Geschlecht Nr. 7 (2011) (Verena Schuh).
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Oneself as Another? Autism and Emotional Intelligence as Pop Science, and the Establishing of “Essential” Differences. In Karafyllis/Ulshöfer (eds.): Sexualized Brains. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 237-312.
  • [Book] Zittel, Claus; Nanni, Romano; Engel, Gisela and Nicole C. Karafyllis (Eds.): Philosophies of Technology: Francis Bacon and his Contemporaries. Boston/Leiden: Brill Publishers 2008 (2 volumes)

    Review in: The British Journal for the History of Science (2009), 42, 616-617 (Peter Dear, Cornell University)
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Ethical and epistemological problems of hybridizing living beings: Biofacts and Body Shopping. In: Wenchao Li and Hans Poser (Eds.): Ethical Considerations on Today's Science and Technology. A German-Chinese Approach. Münster: LIT 2008, 185-198.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Endogenous Design of Biofacts. Tissues and Networks in Bio Art and Life Science. In: sk-interfaces. Exploding borders - creating membranes in art, technology and society. Ed. by Jens Hauser. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press (European Ed.) 2008, 42-58.
  • Karafyllis, N. C.: Facts or Fiction? Methodological and Ethical Problems of Vision Assessment. In: M. Düwell/P. Sollie (ed.): Evaluating New Technologies. Methodological Problems for the Ethical Assessment of Technologic Developments. Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy. Berlin/New York. Springer 2009, 93-116.
  • "Corporate Responsibility" (pp. 134-135) and "Alfred Nordmann" (pp. 606-607), in: SAGE's Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society, ed. by David Gulston and J. Geoffrey Golson, SAGE 2010.

For more information, please switch to the German pages.