Kate Withy


Associate Professor


(On sabbatical Spring 2016)


Department of Philosophy
General profile




I joined the Philosophy Department at Georgetown in the Fall of 2009. I specialise in the work of Martin Heidegger, and also have interests in Foucault, phenomenological ontology, conceptual change, Kierkegaard, Plato and Aristotle.

The centre of gravity for my research is the question of the role of finitude in human nature. I approach this question from two directions. From the perspective of the ontology of human existence, I explore the different forms of human finitude (for example, moods, the past, the limits of knowledge or meaning, death, the human being's animality). I would like to develop a vocabulary for finitude that is adequate to these different ways of being finite. From the perspective of lived human existence, I consider how we encounter our finitude and what it takes to live well – excellently or authentically – in light of it. This leads me to work on crisis experiences, such as the mood of anxiety or the experience of absurdity, and how they change our lives.

In my book, Heidegger on Being Uncanny (Harvard University Press, 2015), I develop Heidegger’s account of the limitations on our ability to make sense of ourselves as human beings, and show why this finitude is constitutive for being human.

I also run the 20th Century European Workshop for graduate students in the Philosophy Department (access restricted to Workshop members): https://sites.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/european-philosophy-workshop/

I received my PhD from The University of Chicago, and my undergraduate degrees from The University of Auckland, New Zealand. I hail from the Hibiscus Coast, just north of Auckland.

Other websites I maintain:

Teaching Associates: resources (access restricted to the Philosophy Department): https://sites.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/philosophy-teaching-associates/

Pictures of Plato (access restricted to GU): https://sites.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/pictures-of-plato/


  • PhD (2009) The University of Chicago, Philosophy