Mr Nicolas Schneider


Research project: Philosophies of Resistance: Between Amphiboly and Actualisation


In this thesis, I explore the philosophical grounds of the ambiguity of contemporary articulations of social and political resistance. I submit that this ambiguity emerges at the intersection of diverse manifestations of resistance and the conceptual formation through which they come to be explained. It is in this constitution of meaning that resistance appears as a breaking point which, rather than playing out a rigidified opposition between subject and object, destabilises the relation between concept and appearance. The ambiguity of resistance is, however, not easily dispelled but persists through what Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, refers to as an ‘illusion of thoroughness'. With reference to Kant's critique of the amphiboly as the auto-transgression by reason of its boundaries, I draw out two conflicting moments in his argumentative strategy that are expressed in the curious entwinement of reflection and determination in the notion of ‘transcendental place'. On this basis, I develop a concept of the actualisation of resistance that can account for both its reactionary and its emancipatory aspects. To begin to flesh out the nexus between philosophy and politics indicated by Kant's treatment of the amphiboly, I trace the use of the amphiboly in the work of Martin Heidegger and Reiner Schürmann. In a next step, to further elucidate resistance as actualisation, I focus on abstraction. With reference to Alfred North Whitehead and Alfred Sohn-Rethel I argue that in Kant temporality becomes severed from appearance, reproducing the amphiboly on a material and historical level. Against this backdrop, I examine amphiboly as a category for the analysis of social conflict. Contending that the pattern of amphiboly plays a constitutive role in the reproduction of the modern form of social organisation, I analyse, with reference to Hannah Arendt's and Moishe Postone's work, antisemitism as an amphibolous form of resistance in which its reactionary moment finds full expression. In conclusion, I outline an emancipatory actualisation of resistance that challenges the amphiboly based on a twofold judgement in and on time.


I am an associate doctoral researcher at the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin.

Besides my PhD studies, I work as a translator and editor.

Areas of research interest

  • Modern European philosophy
  • Political philosophy
  • Phenomenology
  • Marx and Marxisms
  • Critical Theory


  • MSc in European Studies, London School of Economics, University of London
  • BSc in Social Sciences, University of Cologne

Funding or awards received

  • Kingston University Scholarship


Reiner Schürmann, Tomorrow the Manifold. Essays on Foucault, Anarchy, and the Singularization to Come, eds. Nicolas Schneider & Malte Fabian Rauch, Zurich: diaphanes, 2019.