Prof. Dr. Klaus Sachs-Hombach

Institut of Media Studies / Chair for Media Innovation and Media Change


klaus.sachs-hombachspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Wilhelmstraße 50

72074 Tübingen

Tel.: +49 7071 297 2816


On Ambiguity

In accordance with his research background in philosophy and media science, Klaus Sachs-Hombach analyzes the phenomenon of ambiguity as a conceptual problem on the one hand and as a media event on the other. A major focus here lies on visual media, the central question being whether there are particular forms or functions of ambiguity within the communicative usage of images. Or, put more generally: What complications must ambiguity theory expect to face, given that ambiguity is not only considered a linguistic, but a multimodal and multimedia phenomenon as well?



After studying philosophy, psychology and German studies at the University of Münster, Klaus Sachs-Hombach received his doctorate in 1990 and completed his post-doctoral studies at the TU Chemnitz in 2003. Between 1993 and 1994, he undertook research at the University of Oxford and the MIT in Cambridge (MA). In 2007, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy (focus on cognitive sciences) at the TU Chemnitz and in 2011, Professor of Media Science (focus on Media Innovation / Media Change) at the University of Tübingen.



Klaus Sachs-Hombach’s focal points of research are dedicated to central topics such as theories of images, semiotics, media and communication in a historical and systematic perspective, as well as to the areas of aesthetic and cultural theory, and to the philosophical problems of psychology, history of psychology and cognitive science. Currently, a particular emphasis in research is on developing a general theory of multimodal communication. - The deeper methodological problem accompanying these endeavors lies in the appropriate definition of the relation between conceptual reflection and empirical research. This applies also to the questions concerning the possibilities and limitations of human communication and understanding.



Klaus Sachs-Hombach’s teaching covers various historical and systematic themes from the areas of media theory, communication theory, semiotics and image theory. This connects to an interest in aesthetic and ethical problems of media change and modern image culture. Current specific topics include media convergence, transmediality or game studies.


Other Activities

Klaus Sachs-Hombach currently presides over the German Society for Semiotics. In addition, he is engaged in board activities of the Society for Interdisciplinary Image Science (GiB). He also founded and supervises the online magazine IMAGE and is currently involved in the release of a method volume concerning the area of images within the framework of the scientific network “Bildphilosophie” (Image Philosophy).


Publications (Selection)

  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus; Frauke Berndt (2015): “Dimensions of Constitutive Ambiguity.“ In: Ambiguity: Language and Communication. Ed. Susanne Winkler. Berlin: de Gruyter, 271-282.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus; Jörg J. R. Schirra (Ed.). Origins of Pictures. Köln: Halem.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus (2012). “Die Fotografie als die ‘menschenfeindlichste alle Künste’?” In: Fotografie zwischen Inszenierung und Dokumentation. Ed. Julian Nida-Rümelin und Jakob Steinbrenner. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 29-54.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus (2011). “Bildakttheorie: Antworten auf die Differenz von Präsenz und Entzug.” In: Präsenz im Entzug: Ambivalenzen des Bildes. Ed. Philipp Stoellger and Thomas Klie. Tübingen: Mohr, 57-82.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus (2011). “Bild und Ideal.” In: Figurationen: Gender - Literatur - Kultur 12.1, 31-45.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus; Jörg R. J. Schirra (2011). “Prädikative und modale Bildtheorie.” In: Bildlinguistik: Theorien - Methoden - Fallbeispiele. Ed. Hajo Diekmannshenke, Michael Klemm and Hartmut Stöckl. Berlin: Schmidt, 95-119.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus; Rainer Totzke (Ed.) (2011). “Bilder - Sehen – Denken: Zum Verhältnis von begrifflich-philosophischen und empirisch-psychologischen Ansätzen in der bildwissenschaftlichen Forschung. Köln: Halem.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus (2009) (Ed.): Bildtheorien: Anthropologische und kulturelle Grundlagen des ‚visualistic turn’. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
  • Sachs-Hombach, Klaus (2003). Das Bild als kommunikatives Medium: Elemente einer allgemeinen Bildwissenschaft. Köln: Halem.