We seek to develop new perspectives on traditional philosophical questions. Moreover, we aim at philosophical analyses and explanations of new developments in technology, science, society and culture.
Many problems in the modern world cannot be studied and addressed successfully by the methods of individual disciplines within the humanities, social sciences, or natural and applied sciences in isolation. Philosophers at Stuttgart are therefore dedicated to overcoming the boundaries between different fields of knowledge and thought and providing interfaces between philosophy, the sciences, and the arts.
We maintain close interaction, in both research and teaching, with the other disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural and applied sciences. We cooperate closely with the SimTech Cluster of Excellence and also maintain collaborations with the interdisciplinary graduate school GSaME as well as with other research institutes (Stuttgarter Hochschule der Medien, Universität Tübingen, Universität Ulm) and companies in the region.
The institute of philosophy has international partners both within and outside academia. We offer a German-French Master's program “Applied Philosophy of Culture” with the University of Paris VIII. There is a world-wide network of partner universities for the exchange of students and staff. All philosophy students at Stuttgart are offered opportunities to interact with renowned national and international philosophers at institute colloquia, workshops and conferences. Some philosophy courses each year are offered with English as the language of instruction. The institute welcomes applications from visiting scholars who can apply for grants from the DAAD or Alexander von Humboldt foundation to join our department for a research visit. International students are also welcomed and may be able to receive funding through the Erasmus programme or the DAAD.
The Institute of Philosophy considers it to be a key responsibility of academic philosophers to provide a forum for discussing topics of public relevance and to make their work accessible to the interested public. We regularly organize public lecture series' as well as events at the UNESCO day of philosophy. We work in close cooperation with the International Centre of Studies in Culture and Technology (IZKT) at the university as well as other schools and institutions of higher education in the region. Members of the public wishing to develop their knowledge and understanding of philosophy can sign up to audit classes at the institute as a "Gasthörer".
Since antiquity philosophers have reflected upon the nature of mind and its relation to the body. Researchers in the Institute of Philosophy at Stuttgart approach these questions through exploring the philosophical and scientific bases of cognition, affective processing, behaviour and language.
One particular focus of research at Stuttgart has to do with the various aspects of the mind-machine relationship. There has, for example, been a long tradition of attempts to implement and model cognitive capacities in artificial systems and if such attempts were successful, this could radically improve our understanding of human minds. In addition to the role that simulation and computational modelling play in the philosophy of mind and cognition, the role of the body has recently also become an important focus of research in understanding the mind. A second core research concern in the philosophy of mind at Stuttgart is the social dimension of the mental. Mental processes and agency may be attributed not only to individual organisms but also to groups. To study this researchers at the institute investigate topics surrounding social interaction and collective agency in order to understand and predict group behaviour and model social interaction.
What is knowledge? What characterises methods, theories and knowledge that are considered to be scientific? These traditional questions about knowledge, justification and the marks of scientific methods and theories are a particular target of investigation at Stuttgart. One focus in this area pertains to the investigation of questions that are raised by the increasing importance of computer-based simulation technologies in the scientific methods of the natural and social sciences and the digital humanities.
The investigative approach particular to the Stuttgart Institute of Philosophy is characterised by the integration of the arts, science, and technology based on the assumption that there are some questions which can be made more visible and tractable by adding the perspective that art can provide. This may help to break up old patterns of thought and reveal new perspectives on a variety of issues.
This research strength is closely linked to the masters program in applied philosophy of culture. The aim is to explore the evolutionary history of culture and its manifestation in language, art, science and technology. Foremost amongst these is the problem space of ethics, aesthetics and technological culture. The institute has a special interest in investigating the relations between ethics and aesthetics, addressing traditional questions such as: "What is justice?", "What is beauty?" and "What is the relation between ethics and aesthetics?". Moreover, we address the ethical and aesthetic aspects of technologies, which among other things concern the interfaces between humans and machines, the ethical and aesthetic aspects of the interaction between humans and autonomous machines, and the impact of technological culture on human life, society and social interaction.
PhD in Stuttgart
Graduates with a Masters degree who fulfil the requirements for pursuing a PhD are welcome to apply to be supervised by one of the professors at the Institute of Philosophy. Prospective candidates should contact their proposed supervisor in the first instance to discuss the possibility of doing doctoral work with them. With the support of their proposed supervisor candidates may be eligible to apply for grants. The institute currently also co-supervises PhD students with the GSaME Graduate School and SimTech. Graduates from overseas who are interested in gaining a PhD from Stuttgart or PhD students who would like to visit the department may be able to find funding opportunities at DAAD.