Somogy Varga

Associate Professor of Philosophy

319 Clement Hall, Memphis, TN 38152
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About Professor Varga

Professor Varga (PhD 2009, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main) joined the faculty in 2012. He is also an affiliate faculty member of the Institute for Intelligent Systems.

Professor Varga has worked at the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, and has conducted research at the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. He has held visiting positions at the University of Copenhagen, Ruhr University Bochum, and Hvidovre Research Hospital. His primary areas of research are philosophy of mind/psychiatry, philosophy of science, moral psychology, and social philosophy. Professor Varga has recently been awarded an Advanced Fellowship (UBB Institute) and the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities.

Professor Varga has served as the editor of the Southern Journal of Philosophy, as a faculty senator, and as the director of the Philosophical Horizons outreach program. He is currently Director of Graduate Admissions.



1. Varga, S. (2011) Authenticity as an Ethical Ideal, New York: Routledge.
• (reviewed in: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Journal of Moral Philosophy, and Philosophy in Review)
2. Varga, S. (2015) Naturalism, Interpretation and Mental Disorder, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• (reviewed in: Journal of Social Psychiatry, The British Society for Literature and Science, and Tijdschrift v Psychiatrie)
3. Varga, S. (2019) Scaffolded Minds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Edited Volumes

4. Varga, S. and Slaby, J. (eds.) (2012) Philosophy of Psychiatry, Special Issue of Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. (reviewed in: Frankfurter Rundschau)
5. Merritt, M. and Varga, S. (eds.) (2013) Socially Extended Mind, Special Issue of Cognitive Systems Research.
6. Varga, S. (ed.) (2016) Exploitation, Special Issue of Southern Journal of Philosophy
7. Bauer, K., Varga, S., Mieth, C. (eds.) (2017) Dimensions of Practical Necessity. London: Palgrave.



1. Varga, S. (2018) "Toward a Perceptual Account of Mindreading", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
2. Varga, S. (2018) "Epistemic Authority, Philosophical Explication, and the Bio-Statistical Theory of Disease" Erkenntnis
3. Varga, S. (2018) "'Relaxed' Natural Kinds and Psychiatric Classification" Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences
4. Varga, S. (2018) "Embodied Concepts and Disordered Minds" Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (2): 241–260.
5. Varga, S. (2018) "Embodiment and Moral Reasoning", in De Bruin L, Newen A, Gallagher S (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition, Oxford University Press.
6. Varga, S. and Heck, D. (2017) "Rhythms of the body, rhythms of the brain" Consciousness and Cognition 56:77-90.
7. Varga, S. (2017) "Demarcating the Realm of Cognition" Journal for General Philosophy of Science doi/10.1007/s10838-017-9375-y.
8. Varga, S. (2017) "Normativity, Naturalism and Mental Disorder" Philosophy Compass 12:e12422. doi/ 10.1111/phc3.12422.
9. Varga, S. (2017) "Perceptual experience and cognitive penetration", European Journal of Philosophy 25(2): 376–397.
10. Varga, S. (2017) "The Case for Mind Perception" Synthese 194(3): 787–807.
11. Varga. S (2016) "Evolutionary Psychiatry and Depression" Alvergne. A. (ed.) Evolutionary Medicine: A guide for Researchers, Practitioners and Policy-makers (EHBEA), Springer.
12. Varga, S. (2015) "Intentionality, Normativity and Naturalism" Philosophia 43(3): 611-624.
13. Varga, S. (2015) "Interaction and Extended Cognition", Synthese 193 (8): 2469–2496.
14. Gallagher, S. & Varga, S. (2015) "Conceptual Issues in Autism Spectrum Disorders", Current Opinion in Psychiatry 28 (2): 127-132.
15. Gallagher, S. & Varga, S. (2015) "Social Cognition and Psychopathology", World Psychiatry 14(1): 5–14.
16. Varga, S. (2015) "Self-Deception, Self-Knowledge and Autobiography", in Cowley, Christopher (ed.) The Philosophy of Autobiography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 141-155.
17. Varga, S (2014) "Self, Narrative and the Culture of Therapy", Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology. 21 (2): 161-163.
18. Stoyanov, D, Borgwardt, S & Varga, S. (2014) "The problem of translational validity across neuroscience and psychiatry", in Zachar, P, Stoyanov, D, et al (ed.) Alternative perspectives on psychiatric validation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 128-146.
19. Ratcliffe, M, Stephan, A. & Varga, S. (2014) Editorial, Special Issue: The Phenomenology of Depression, Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (7-8), 10-14.
20. Varga, S. (2014) "Cognition, Representations and Embodied Emotions: Investigating Cognitive Theory" Erkenntnis 79 (1): 165-190.
21. Gallagher, S & Varga, S. (2013) "Social Constraints on Direct Perception", Topoi 33 (1): 185-199.
22. Varga, S. (2013) "The Frames of Cognition", Cognitive Systems Research (25-26): 54–60.
23. Merritt, M & Varga, S. (2013) Editorial, Special Issue: The Socially Extended Mind, Cognitive Systems Research (25-26): 1–3.
24. Varga, S. (2013.) "The Elephant in the Room. Reply to Radden, Sass and Pienko" Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry 20 (2): 165-167.
25. Radden, J. & Varga, S. (2013) "Depression Memoirs: some meta-analysis", in Fulford, KWM. et al. (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 99-115.
26. Varga, S. (2013) "From Melancholia to Depression. Ideas on a possible continuity" Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry 20 (2): 141-155.
27. Varga, S. & Krueger, J. (2013) "Background Emotions, Proximity and Distributed Emotion Regulation" Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 4: 271-292.
28. Varga, S. (2013) "Classification, Validity and Psychiatric Kinds" in D. Stoyanov (ed.), Psychopathology: theory, perspectives and future approaches, New York: Nova, 81-96.
29. Varga, S. (2012) "Kognitive Theorie, mentale Repräsentationen und Emotionen. Philosophie und therapeutische Praxis" Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 60 (6), 1–18.
30. Varga, S. (2012) "Depersonalization and the Sense of Realness" Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry 19 (2): 103-113.
31. Varga, S. (2012) "Realness, Expression and the Role of Others" Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry 19 (2): 123-126.
32. Varga, S. & Slaby, J. (2012) "Philosophie der Psychiatrie", Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 60 (6): 1-4.
33. Varga, S. (2012) "Non-Reflective Self-Awareness. Do We Need a Situated Account?" Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (3-4): 164-193.
34. Varga, S. (2011) "Defining Mental Disorder. Exploring the 'Natural Functions' Approach" Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, 6:1.
35. Varga, S. (2011) "Evolutionary Psychiatry and Depression. Testing Two Hypotheses" Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy 15(1): 41-52.
36. Varga, S. (2011) "Pretence, Social Cognition and Self-Knowledge in Autism." Psychopathology 44: 45-52.
37. Varga, S. (2011) "Winnicott, Symbolic Play and Other Minds," Philosophical Psychology 24 (5): 625–637.
38. Varga, S. (2010) "Vulnerability to Psychosis, I-Thou Intersubjectivity and the Praecox-Feeling" Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. 12 (1): 131-143.
39. Parnas, J., Nordgaard, J, Varga, S. (2010) "The concept of psychosis: A clinical and theoretical analysis" Clinical Neuropsychiatry 7 (2): 32-37.
40. Varga, S. (2010) "Explaining Impaired Play in Autism" Journal für Philosophie und Psychiatrie 3(1): 1-13.
41. Varga, S. (2010) "Als-ob und geteilte Intentionalität", in R. Strätling (ed.), Spielformen des Selbst. Subjektivität, Kunst und Alltagspraxis, 191-204, Bielefeld: Transcript.
42. Varga, S. (2009) "Derealization, Depersonalization and the Question of ´Realness´" Archives of Philosophy and Mental Health, 11 (1): 42-51.
43. Varga, S. (2009) "Levels of Attunement: A Comment on Matthew Ratcliffe´s The Feelings of Being. Phenomenology, Psychiatry and the Sense of Reality", Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8(2): 607-611.
44. Varga, S. (2008) "Expression, Self-Knowledge and Authority: Wittgenstein and Subjectivity" Filozofia vol. 63 (9): 830-839.


45. Varga, S. (2017) "Embodied Situationism" Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2): 271-286.
46. Varga, S. (2016) "Autonomous self-expression and meritocratic dignity" Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5): 1131–1149.
47. Varga, S. (2015) "Core Identifications: The Motives That Really "Speak for Us"" American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4): 301-320.
48. Varga, S. (2015) "Identifications, Volitions and the Case of Successful Psychopaths" Dialectica 69, 87–106.
49. Varga, S. (2015) "Taking Refuge from History in Morality: Marx, Morality, and Dignity", in Debes, R. (ed.) The Concept of Dignity, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 291-299.
50. Varga, S. & Guignon, C. (2014) "Authenticity" Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
51. Varga, S. (2014) "Authenticity" Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Chichester: Wiley.
52. Varga, S. (2014) "Fiat justitia, ruat caelum. A Habermasian perspective", Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (2): 153-156.
53. Varga, S. (2011) "Primary Goods, contingency and the challenge of genetic enhancement" Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (3): 279-291.
54. Varga, S. (2011) "Existential Choices. To What Degree is Who We a Matter of Choice?" Continental Philosophy Review 44: 65-79.
55. Varga, S. (2011) "Self-Realization and Owing to Others. A Morality Constrain?" International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19: 71-82.
56. Varga, S. (2011) "The Paradox of Authenticity" TELOS 156: 1-19.
57. Varga, S. (2010) "Sincerity, Autonomy and their Decline" In: R. Graulund (ed.), Desperately Seeking Authenticity, Copenhagen: CDS, 144-159.
58. Varga, S. (2010) "Charles Taylor", P. Lübcke (ed.) Politikens Filosofi Leksikon Copenhagen: Politikens Forlag.
59. Varga, S. (2009) "Sub Spaecie Aeternitatis. Wittgenstein on Ethics and Aesthetics", Nordic Journal of Aesthetics 38: 35-50.
60. Varga, S. & Holm, I.W. (2009) "Mood of Catastrophy: Inger Christensen´s Alfabet and the Cold Catastrophy" (in Danish), Trappe tusind, 2(3): 56-59.
61. Varga, S. (2009) "Life as Art: Some Paradoxes of an Ethical Concept" Estetika. Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 2 (1): 49-61.
62. Varga, S. (2007) "Self-Help and Selfhood: Ambivalences of an Interweavement in the Literature of Self-Improvement" S. Deasey; C. Forrest (red.): Authentic Artifice: Cultures of the Real, Salford: University of Salford Press, 223-240.


63. Varga, S. (2016) "Exploitation, Vulnerability and Market-driven Governance" Journal of Social Philosophy 47: 90–113.
64. Varga, S. (2014) "Recognition" Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Chichester: Wiley.
65. Varga, S. (2013) "The Marketization of Foreign Cultural Policy: The Cultural Nationalism of the Competition State", Constellations 20 (3): 442-458.
66. Varga, S. (2013) "The Politics of Nation Branding" Philosophy and Social Criticism 39 (8): 825-845.
67. Varga, S. & Gallagher, S. (2012) "Critical Social Philosophy, Honneth and the Role of Primary Intersubjectivity" European Journal of Social Theory 15 (2): 243-260.
68. Varga, S. (2011) "Habermas, 'Species Ethics' and the Limits of Formal Anthropology" Critical Horizons – A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, 12 (1): 71-89.
69. Jørgensen, JN & Varga, S. (2011) "Norms and Practices of Poly-Lingual Behaviour: A Sociolinguistic Model" Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics 2 (2): 49-68.
70. Varga, S. (2010) "Critical Theory and the Two-Level Account of Recognition. Towards a New Foundation?" Critical Horizons – A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, 11 (1): 23-38.
71. Varga, S. & Utzelmann, B. (2007) Normal oder normalisiert? Zur nationalen Identität deutscher und britischer Migranten in Dänemark" Grenzfriedenshefte, 9-18.


72. Varga, S. (2017) "The battle for the "real you", IAI News. Available at:


73. Varga, S. (2015) "Review of The Metaphysics of Mental Disorder", Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259): 307-310.
74. Varga, S. (2014) "Review of Radical Enactivism", Philosophy 89 (2): 357-361.
75. Varga, S. (2013) "Review of Disordered Minds", Mind 121 (484): 1064-1068.

Some recent talks

• "High-level Perception and Perceptual Mindreading", Jean Nicod, Paris, September
• "Moral reasoning and psychopathy", Lancaster, September
• "Autonomous Selves and Openness to Reasons", Berlin, September
• "Core Identifications", Lund University, August
• "Scaffolded Minds and Mental Disorder", Ruhr-University Bochum, June
• "Personal Autonomy and Core Commitments", University of Hamburg, June
• "Perceptual mindreading", University Antwerp, June
• "Cognitive Theory in Psychotherapy", KU Leuven, June
• "Perceptual Mindreading", University of Connecticut, April
• "Scaffolded Minds and Mental Disorder", University of Exeter, April
• "Neurodiversity", IIS, Fedex Institute of Technology, February.