Maria Balaska, DPhil.


Location: 06 007, building G

Research interests

Ethics, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Language, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cora Diamond, Stanley Cavell, moral perfectionism, philosophy of psychoanalysis, ordinary language philosophy.

Balaska's most recent research themes comprise the experience of astonishment, the role of the unconditional in ethics, the role of meaning in the aesthetic judgment, the role of unconscious mental states in psychoanalysis.



Ph.D in Philosophy / Paris 8 University, France 2009-2014

MSc in Political Science / University of Panteion, Athens, Greece 2007-2009

BA in Psychology / University of Panteion, Athens, Greece 2003-2007 

Teaching experience


Philosophy of Mind


Early analytic philosophy




Wittgenstein and Lacan at the limit: language, meaning, and astonishment, Palgrave McMillan, forthcoming


Papers (peer-reviewed) 

Can there be ‘happiness’ in psychoanalysis?: Lacan with Sophocles, special issue on Happiness and Hedonism, College Literature, Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming

What guides moral consideration?: Wittgenstein and Diamond on imagination and animal ethics,  Journal of Animal Ethics, University of Illinois Press, Vol. 6, Spring 2016

The notion of happiness in early Wittgenstein: towards a non-contentful account of happiness, South African Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 33 No. 4, 2014

Objects in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: towards the application of logic, EPEKEINA. International Journal of Ontology. History and Critics”, vol. 5, n. 2/2014


Book chapters

Wittgenstein and Diamond on Meaning and Experience: From Groundlessness to Creativity, published in edited volume ‘Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language’, eds. S. Greve and J. Macha, Palgrave McMillan, 2015



Review of Soulez, A. Détrôner l’Être, Wittgenstein antiphilosophe?, co-authored with S. Greve, European Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming

Review of British Wittgenstein Society lecture, ”The Interface between Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Therapy and the Empirical Psychotherapies”, by J. Heaton, British Wittgenstein Society website


Work in progress

Self-becoming and meaning what we say: Cavell, Freud and Wittgenstein

Postulating substance for the formal aspects of logic: an answer to Richard McDonough’s argument


Presented papers

Beauty and expression, Nordic Society of Aesthetics’ Annual Conference, Bergen, Norway, 8-10 June 2017

The talking cure and meaning what we say: Freud and Cavell, Interdisciplinary Seminars in Psychoanalysis, St John’s College, University of Oxford, 6 February 2017

The moral implications of meaning-blindness, London Wittgenstein reading group, 18 December 2015

Aspect perception and aspect blindness: understanding autism through Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, Continuing Professional Development peer group ‘Mental Health in Learning Disabilities’, invited speaker, 15 December 2015

Listening to Beethoven and having a moral attitude: the relation between ethics and aesthetics, Annual conference of the Dutch Association of Aesthetics, Institute of philosophy, Leuven, Belgium, 27-28 February 2015

Autobiography in Philosophy: why philosophy is not teachable, International Conference ‘Teaching innovation in Philosophy’, Faculty of Philosophy, Madrid, Spain, 5-7 November 2014

Objects in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: from ontology to everyday language, Workshop ‘Objects of all kinds’, Lille, France, 22-24 May 2014

Objects and substance in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, International conference ‘Understanding Matter’, Palermo, Sicily, 10 April 2014

Le niveau de signification dans le Tractatus : une approche différente, Seminar ‘Langage et vie’ , université de Paris 8-St Denis / MSH Paris Nord, Antonia Soulez en coordination avec Arild Utaker, February 2014

The Running-up-against Paradox: How Can we Place it in Language?, Workshop ‘Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language’, The Wittgenstein Archives, University of Bergen, Norway, 14 June 2013