Research at the Chair Theoretical Philosophy and Philosophy of Language

The research at the Chair Theoretical Philosophy and Philosophy of Language (Prof Dr Wolfgang Freitag) is focused on theoretical philosophy, especially philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics and theory of science. Historically, the research focuses on early analytical philosophy. 

Current Research Project

Mind the Meaning

The Philosophy of Psychological Expressivism

Dissertation Projects

  • Expression and Negation: An Expressivist Account of Disavowals

    Nadja-Mira Yolcu

    Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freitag, Lehrstuhl Philosophie I

    The dissertation project aims to develop an expressivist analysis of negative avowals. So far, expressivist theories (Wittgenstein 1953; Bar-On 2004, 2015; Finkelstein 2003; Freitag 2014, 2018) have focused on positive avowals. But negative avowals (disavowals), e.g., utterances of “I don’t hope that it is raining,” pose, or seem to pose, a serious problem to avowal expressivism. It is unclear what a speaker expresses with a negative avowal – how can one express the absence of a mental state? The purpose of the dissertation is to examine negative avowals. I will tentatively claim that, despite the mentioned problem, they can receive an expressivist analysis. I propose that disavowals constitute cases of expressive denegation. Thus, we can avoid a descriptivist backlash. An expressivist analysis of disavowals will, furthermore, contribute to a new understanding of various philosophical problems such as Moore’s paradox and suspension of belief.

    The dissertation was submitted in December 2022 and successfully defended in April 2024.

  • Scientific Observation in Perspective (working title)

    Lyu Xingyu

    Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freitag, Chair of Philosophy I

    The dissertation project aims to develop a perspectivist account of scientific observation. The observational ability of human observers has been profoundly enlarged and enhanced with the aid of sophisticatedly designed apparatus. Whether the observational results gained via the use of apparatus could be treated as the outcome of a simple continuum of human sensory perception or not, determines how we interpret observational results in science. I will respond to this question from a perspectivist viewpoint and will thus argue that there is no simple continuum thereof. The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a perspectivist theoretical framework with the aim of bridging the gap between the apparatus-based observation and human sense-based observation.

  • Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology (working title)

    Maximilian Philipps

    Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freitag (Chair of Philosophy I)


    My dissertation deals with Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology, which is the focus of his later writings after the Philosophical Investigations. My preliminary thesis is that Wittgenstein’s discussion of psychological terms is motivated primarily by the idea of philosophy as a criticism of language. Therefore, it can be understood in analogy to other parts of Wittgenstein’s work, such as his Philosophy of Mathematics.

    I also explore the expressivist tendencies in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. In particular, I investigate how these fit into the context of his Philosophy of Psychology and whether there are connections to the reoccuring topics of aspect seeing and color perception.