Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Study of Religion
PhD, 2012
  •  6
    Autopoiesis, biological autonomy and the process view of life
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1): 1-16. 2019.
    In recent years, an increasing number of theoretical biologists and philosophers of biology have been opposing reductionist research agendas by appealing to the concept of biological autonomy which draws on the older concept of autopoiesis. In my paper, I investigate some of the ontological implications of this approach. The emphasis on autonomy and autopoiesis, together with the associated idea of organisational closure, might evoke the impression that organisms are to be categorised ontologica…Read more
  • Michael Quante, Person (Grundthemen Philosophie) (review)
    Philosophisches Jahrbuch 116 221-225. 2009.
  • According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, it is …Read more
  • According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, dispos…Read more
  • Stephen Mumford has argued that dispositionalists ought to be endurantists because perdurantism, by breaking down persisting objects in sequences of static discrete existents, is at odds with a powers metaphysics. This has been contested by Neil Williams who offers his own version of ‘powerful’ perdurance where powers function as links between the temporal parts of persisting objects. Weighing up the arguments given by both sides, I show that the profile of ‘powerful’ persistence crucially depen…Read more
  • Substanz, Relation oder beides: Augustinus und Heidegger zur Frage ‘Was sind Personen?’ (Substance, Relation or Both: Augustine and Heidegger on the Question ‘What are Persons?’)
    Crossing Borders. Grenzen (Über)Denken. Beiträge Zum 9. Internationalen Kongress der Österreichischen Gesellschaft Für Philosophie in Wien. 2012.
    What are persons? There are two traditional answers: the relation model of person according to which a person is nothing more than a function of her relationships to other persons and the substance model which construes the person as persisting independently of relations and accidental properties. In my paper, I explore two interesting intersections of these models occurring in Augustine's speculative doctrine of trinity and in Heidegger’s early Theory of Dasein. Are Augustine’s and Heidegger’s …Read more
  • What is metaphysics? And what do we need it for? In this paper I argue that if we answer the first question appropriately, the second question becomes pointless. To understand what metaphysics is means to understand what it is for. I shall propose that metaphysics, as a philosophical discipline, is the addressing of reality with respect to the intelligibility of reality as a whole and, i.e., the addressing of reality's being-addressed in various contexts (everyday and scientific). Insofar as rea…Read more
  • Haben menschliche Embryonen eine Disposition zur Personalität?
    In Markus Rothhaar, Martin Hähnel & Roland Kipke (eds.), Der manipulierbare Embryo. pp. 147-171. 2018.
    Do human embryos have a disposition to personhood? This has been argued within recent attempts to reformulate the classical argument from potentiality for the protection of human embryos with the help of the concept of disposition. In this paper, I analyse the central ontological premise of this new approach and show that any hopes of rehabilitating in dispositionalist terms the idea of a potential to personhood inherent in human embryos are mistaken. The dispositionalist version of the potentia…Read more
  • Human Persons – A Process View
    In Jörg Ulrich Noller (ed.), Was sind und wie existieren Personen?. pp. 53-76. forthcoming.
    What are persons and how do they exist? The predominant answer to this question in Western metaphysics is that persons, human and others, are, and exist as, substances, i.e., ontologically independent, well-demarcated things defined by an immutable (usually mental) essence. Change, on this view, is not essential for a person's identity; it is in fact more likely to be detrimental to it. In this chapter I want to suggest an alternative view of human persons which is motivated by an appreciation o…Read more
  • Adorno und Descartes, programmatisch versöhnt: Der wissenschaftliche Essay als Form
    Merkur. Deutsche Zeitschrift Für Europäisches Denken 63 (11): 1077-1081. 2009.
    In his famous essay „Der Essay als Form“ („The Essay as Form"), Adorno accuses Descartes of committing science to the ideal of absolute certainty (“zweifelsfreie Gewissheit”), thereby preluding the modern organized science (“organisierte Wissenschaft”), which in Adorno’s view has become alienated from real intellectual experience (“geistige Erfahrung”). In my essay, I criticize Adorno’s critique, showing that what Descartes in fact thinks about task and method of science comes much closer to the…Read more
  • Can mental causation be naturalised without being eliminated? Thomas Buchheim argues that it can, proposing a neo-Aristotelian account dubbed "Horizontal Dualism". In this paper I assess this proposal. This article is part of a series of articles commenting on Thomas Buchheim's target article "Neuronenfeuer und seelische Tat. Ein neoaristotelischer Vorschlag zum Verständnis mentaler Kausalität", published in Philosophisches Jahrbuch 119,2 (2012), 332-346. The article was reprinted in: Mentale Ve…Read more
  • Eric Olson distinguishes his animalistic account of transtemporal personal identity from the apparently similar Bodily Criterion, among other things, by accusing the latter of being contaminated with Cartesian implications owing to its usage of the term ‚body‘. In contrast, Olson argues, Animalism is able to avoid these implications by substituting the concept of body for the concept of organism, which makes Animalism not only a distinct position, but also the better alternative to the Bodily Cr…Read more
  • In destructing traditional metaphysics, Heidegger accuses German Idealism of eliminating the finite in favour of the infinite. Particularly Hegel is criticized for ignoring the true finitude of Dasein and thereby misinterpreting being as infinite absolute. The paper explores this criticism in three steps. First, the main features of Heidegger’s early metaphysics of finite Dasein as developed in Being and Time will be traced, followed, second, by an examination of Heidegger’s claim that Hegel’s a…Read more
  • The argument from potentiality for embryo protection relies on the assumption of a specific developmental potential of human embryos: as human embryos under normal conditions naturally developing into beings whose strong moral status is uncontroversial, namely into human persons, they likewise enjoy strong moral status. In my paper, I endeavour to spell out the ontological foundations of the argument from potentiality and to discuss them critically in the light of new empirical findings in embry…Read more
  • Within the philosophy of biology, recently promising steps have been made towards a biologically grounded concept of agency. Agency is described as bio-agency: the intrinsically normative adaptive behaviour of human and non-human organisms, arising from their biological autonomy. My paper assesses the bio-agency approach by examining criticism recently directed by its proponents against the project of embodied robotics. Defenders of the bio-agency approach have claimed that embodied robots do no…Read more
  • Human persons exist longer than a single moment in time; they persist through time. However, so far it has not been possible to make this natural and widespread assumption metaphysically comprehensible. The philosophical debate on personal identity is rather stuck in a dilemma: reductionist theories explain personal identity away, while non-reductionist theories fail to give any informative account at all. This chapter argues that this dilemma emerges from an underlying commitment, shared by bot…Read more
  • Recent decades have seen an increasing tendency to exclude the phenomenon of personality from the metaphysical investigation of personal identity. We are advised not to confuse personal identity as a philosophical subject, namely as the metaphysical issue of specifying what it is that makes a person staying numerically self-identical over time, with the psychological question of 'personal identity' which asks what makes someone the individual person they are with their particular character and h…Read more
  •  25
    The Disappearance of Change: Towards a Process Account of Persistence
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1): 12-30. 2019.
    This paper aims to motivate a new beginning in metaphysical thinking about persistence by drawing attention to the disappearance of change in current accounts of persistence. I defend the claim that the debate is stuck in a dilemma which results from neglecting the constructive role of change for persistence. Neither of the two main competing views, perdurantism and endurantism, captures the idea of persistence as an identity through time. I identify the fundamental ontological reasons for this,…Read more
  •  25
    Autopoiesis, biological autonomy and the process view of life
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1): 5. 2018.
    In recent years, an increasing number of theoretical biologists and philosophers of biology have been opposing reductionist research agendas by appealing to the concept of biological autonomy which draws on the older concept of autopoiesis. In my paper, I investigate some of the ontological implications of this approach. The emphasis on autonomy and autopoiesis, together with the associated idea of organisational closure, might evoke the impression that organisms are to be categorised ontologica…Read more
  •  15
    Derek M. Jones, The biological foundations of action (review)
    History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2): 36. 2018.
  •  2
    In this monograph, I systematically analyse the debate in recent analytic metaphysics, with a special focus on recent biologically inspired (so-called animalist) theories of personal identity. I argue that the debate is stuck in a dilemma which is neither harmless nor new: the modern antagonism between the reductionist elimination of personal identity on the one hand and its non-reductionist mystification on the other rather repeats the antagonism between rationalist dogmatism and empirical scep…Read more
  • An important motivation for the assumption of irreducible powers and dispositions in the context of contemporary dispositionalism is our self-understanding as agents. We experience ourselves as agents who actively influence the course of things. We attribute causal powers to ourselves when acting and likewise to the things surrounding us. What exactly does the relationship between power and agency consist in? How does a realist view of powers and dispositions relate to the opposition between age…Read more