Current Research Projects

Transformation der Gesellschaft zur Nachhaltigkeit

Mit kühlem Kopf. Über den Nutzen der Philosophie für die Klimadebatte. 
Chair of Philosophy II

Mind the Meaning

The Philosophy of Psychological Expressivism
Chair of Philosophy I

Dissertation Projects

  • Expressing Myself: Disavowals and the Mind (working title)

    Nadja-Mira Yolcu

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

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

  • 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.

  • Wiedergutmachungen global agierender Unternehmen: Von der Pflicht, gerecht zu wirtschaften (Arbeitstitel)

    Sebastian Burger

    Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernward Gesang, Chair of Philosophy II

    The doctoral project contributes a practically oriented corporate ethics, which regards human rights as a central, normative foundation and aims at the relative improvement of morally reprehensible conditions. The dissertation has three parts. First, three different principles of attribution of responsibility are analysed and discussed. These include the polluter pays, solvency and beneficiaries principle. In a globalised economy, the polluter pays principle, which is dominant in corporate ethics, seems to be reaching its limits. It must therefore be supplemented by the other two principles. Second, the normative consequences are discussed: What responsibility for elimination or reparation obligations do global companies have in order to be able to prevent, combat or compensate for human rights violations? In the final part, it is examined what needs to be done at the macro, meso and micro levels of business ethics to put into practice the responsibility to eliminate and redress.

  • Wild Animal Suffering and Laissez-faire Intuition

    Beka Jalagania

    Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernward Gesang, Chair of Philosophy II

    In his PhD thesis, Beka Jalagania addresses questions concerning the ethics of wild animal suffering. The thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the view, called the Laissez-faire Intuition, that we are not required to assist wild animals. In contrast to this view, the thesis makes the case for assisting wild animals in their struggle to live lives free from suffering and provides a theoretical ground for an ethically justified intervention in nature.

  • 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.

Completed Projects

Future's Advocates

How can future generations be given the right to vote?

J.H. Lambert: Philosophical Writings

The task of the department Lambert-Edition was the publication of the “Philosophische Schriften” (Philosophical Writings) by Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777)