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Karen Ng

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Description of Research

Karen Ng specializes in nineteenth-century European philosophy (esp. Hegel and German Idealism) and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Her book, Hegel’s Concept of Life: Self-Consciousness, Freedom, Logic, is published with Oxford University Press (2020). The book explores the philosophical significance of the concept of life for Hegel’s philosophy, with an emphasis on his Science of Logic. In addition to her research in post-Kantian philosophy, she is also interested in the ongoing influence of Hegel and Marx for critical social theory, particularly as their legacies help us understand the relation between human beings and nature, possibilities and failures of mutual recognition, and conceptions of progress and critique. In 2018, she was an instructor at the Critical Theory Summer School in Berlin on the topic of Rethinking Ideology and a research fellow at the Center for Humanities and Social Change at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In July 2020 she will be a visiting researcher at the Dahlem Humanities Center at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Read interview on APA Blog.

AOS: 19th Century European Philosophy (esp. Hegel and German Idealism), Frankfurt School Critical Theory
AOC: History of Modern European Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy

Ng is a founding co-convener of The Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Social Philosophy. This is a collective endeavor by faculty and graduate students from the New School for Social Research and Vanderbilt University. Conceived to recognize groundbreaking philosophical work tackling questions of social epistemology, social ontology, theories of race, gender, class, ability, animality, and the natural environment, the first biennial Prize will be granted in the spring of 2021, and the occasion will be celebrated with a public lecture with responses from philosophers and social theorists. For more information, please visit, or contact the organizers at


Hegel, German Idealism, Frankfurt School Critical Theory

Representative publications

Science of Logic as Critique of Judgment? Reconsidering Pippin’s Hegel,” European Journal of Philosophy (2020).

Social Freedom as Ideology,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 45:7 (2019): 795–818. 

Life and the Space of Reasons: On Hegel’s Subjective Logic,” Hegel-Bulletin (2018): DOI 10.1017/hgl.2018.15.

From Actuality to Concept in Hegel’s Logic,” in The Oxford Handbook of Hegel, ed. Dean Moyar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 270­–291. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199355228.013.13. 

 “Hegel and Adorno on Negative Universal History: The Dialectics of Species-Life,” in Creolizing Hegel, ed. Michael Monahan (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), pp. 113–133.

Life and Mind in Hegel’s Logic and Subjective Spirit,” Hegel Bulletin 37:2 (2016): doi:10.1017/hgl.2016.35.

Ideology Critique from Hegel and Marx to Critical Theory,” Constellations 22:3 (September 2015): 393–404.

"Life, Self-Consciousness, Negativity: Understanding Hegel's Speculative Identity Thesis," in The Freedom of Life: Hegelian Perspectives, ed. Thomas Khurana (Berlin: August Verlag, 2013).

"Hegel's Logic of Actuality," Review of Metaphysics 63:1 (September 2009): 139–172.