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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Leidhold

Wolfgang Leidhold completed his master's degree in 1975 with a thesis on "Myth and Method in René Descartes". After a research stay at Stanford University, CA, he received his PhD in 1982 with a thesis on "Ethics and Politics in Francis Hutcheson" at the University of Bochum. He edited Hutcheson's "Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue" from 1726 in a new edition published in 2004. Beginning with his studies of this Scottish philosopher and the history of empiricism in general, through Kant to William James, Henri Bergson, C. G. Jung, Eric Voegelin, Ronald D. Laing, and others, he then began to develop a theory of experience and its history. 

From 1978 to 1992 he was an assistant professor at the University of Erlangen, teaching political philosophy, history of ideas, and international relations. This was followed in the mid-1980s by research appointments at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During this time, he focused on international relations, especially security policy, and visited the U.S. and the Pacific Islands region, as well as New Zealand and Australia - a project funded by the Thyssen Foundation (Cologne, Germany). This resulted in the study "Crisis Under the Southern Cross. The Pacific Islands Region and International Security" (1991). Here, too, experience was a central theme: small island states and micronations experience the security situation quite differently from great powers and large territorial states. 

In 1992, Wolfgang Leidhold became a full professor at the University of Cologne. His focus is on political theory and the history of ideas. In addition to numerous research projects, he initiated and designed ILIAS, an open-source online learning platform that is used worldwide. His theoretical work covers topics from Antiquity, the Renaissance, Western Modernity, and contemporary issues such as communication, religion, and ecology. The theory of experience and its history are the focus of his research and publications. 

He has presented an outline of his theory of experience and a first look at the history of experience in two books. One is "Political Philosophy," published in 2002, and the other is a study of spiritual experience entitled "God's Presence," published in 2008. The Festschrift on "Experience" (2021) illustrates the international impact of his ideas. 

In 2023, the results of his research were published in "The History of Experience. A Study in Experiential Turns and Cultural Dynamics from the Paleolithic to the Present Day" Details can be found here:
You can access said book via the publisher's website.

Prof. Leidholds Vortrag auf der ILIAS-Jubiläumskonferenz

WiSo Workplace Video with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Leidhold