Maria Kronfeldner
Abteilung Philosophie
Universität Bielefeld > Fakultät > Philosophie > Personen > Maria Kronfeldner

Wissen ist, wie der Frieden, eines der wenigen Dinge dieser Welt, die mehr werden, indem man sie teilt. - Johann M. Himmelstoß




Maria Kronfeldner (Associate Prof. Dr.)

Email: mkronfeldner{a}

From Sep 2014 onwards, Maria Kronfeldner will work at the Philosophy Department of the Central European University.
Postal address:
Central European University
Department of Philosophy
Maria Kronfeldner
Nador u. 9
1051 Budapest, Hungary

Foto: Lukas Einsele



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Profile and Interests

Area of specialisation: philosophy of the life sciences.

Area of competence: history of the life sciences, philosophy of the social sciences, general philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind.

Research focus: anthropology, biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology.

Research keywords: nature-nurture dichotomy, evolutionary theory, genetic determinism, diseases, human nature, culture, creativity, authorship, individuality, causation, essentialism, explanation, classification, discrimination, normality, nutrition, complexity, simplicity, disciplines, unity of science, 'two cultures' of science, sharing knowledge, owning knowledge, science and society, science and art.


Profile: Maria Kronfeldner's main area of research is the philosophy of the life sciences, with an increasing focus on the social and human sciences. The perspective taken in her research is a historically as well as scientifically informed one, in the spirit of an integrated history, philosophy and social studies of science (HPSS). She joined the department in 2008. She studied philosophy and religious studies at Regensburg University, where she obtained her PhD in philosophy in 2006, under the supervision of Hans Rott. Before she joined the department of philosophy at Bielefeld University, she was a Karl Schädler postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University.

During her graduate time, she focused on philosophy of mind, pragmatism, and environmental ethics. Combining her interest in philosophy of mind with her artistic activities (theatre, video, photography), she started to do research on philosophy of creativity. Since novelty is not only occurring in human minds, but also in nature, her research on the concept of creativity led her to the history and philosophy of the life sciences (HPLS). She has analysed Darwinian approaches to creativity and cultural evolution as well as the history of the concept of culture and cultural inheritance.

Currently, her main project is a book on the concept of human nature with the working title Divide and Conquer: Human nature between science, philosophy and politics. The book aims to bring together several branches of her research on issues such as essentialism, causation, explanation, normalcy, reductionism, complexity, integration and unity of sciences, as well as science and values.



Research Projects

Current/ Central project: Nature-Nurture

1. Divide and Conquer: Human Nature between Science, Philosophy and Politics.

Future/ In the making: Causation in the Life and Social Sciences

2. Causation, risk and responsibility in law and medicine

Future/ In the making: Real People

3. Individuality and personhood in the ontology of the life and social sciences.

Past: Evolution and Man

4. Creativity naturalized
5. Cultural evolution

Satellite/ In general: Authorship

6. The author and his intellectual ownership in philosophy, science, and art.






Please see the course pages at the CEU.


General information and useful links




Recent publications include the following:








in prep. Divide and conquer: Human nature between science, philosophy and politics (Arbeitstitel Buchprojekt)
forthc. Reconstituting Phenomena. European Journal for Philosophy of Science


forthc. Problems and Prospects of Interdisciplinary Philosophy of Science: An Opinionated Report from the Workbench. Briefe zur Interdisziplinarität (co-authored with Marie Kaiser and Robert Meunier)


2015. Untersuchen alle das Gleiche bzw. hinreichend Ähnliches?. Jahrbuch Interdisziplinäre Anthropologie 2/2014: Gewalt Und Aggression: 78-85 (hrsg. Gerald Hartung and Matthias Herrgen).


2014. Interdisciplinarity in Philosophy of Science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science (co-authored with Marie Kaiser and Robert Meunier)


2014. Recent work on human nature: Beyond essences. Philosophy Compass (lead author, co-authored with Neil Roughley and Georg Toepfer)


2014. How norms make causes. International Journal of Epidemiology.


2013. Philosophie der Lebenswissenschaften: Entwicklungen und Tendenzen. Information Philosophie 4/2013: 14-27. (co-authored with all members of the Netzwerk Philosophie der Lebenswissenschaften)


2013. Die epistemische Fragmentierung des Menschen: Wie der Mensch zwischen Natur und Kultur verschwindet. In: Huegli, Anton et. al. (eds.): Die anthropologische Wende. Studia philosophica 72 (pp. 287-313). Basel: Schwabe.
2012. Seeds of change: A comparative review of five new collections in the philosophy of biology. Journal of General Philosophy of Science 43: 195-201.
2011. Darwinian Creativity and Memetics. Durham: Acumen.
2011. Causation and Disease. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences (Special issue, ed. with Staffan Müller-Wille)
2011. Die Flause . In: Azzouni, Safia; Brandt, Christina; Gausemeier, Bernd; Kursell, Julia; Schmidgen, Henning; Wittmann, Barbara [eds.]: Eine Naturgeschichte für das 21. Jahrhundert: Hommage à, zu Ehren von, in honor of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2011.
2010. Darwinian 'blind' hypothesis formation revisited. Synthese 175: 193-218.
[download pdf]
2010. Won't you please unite? Darwinism, cultural evolution and kinds of synthesis. In: Barahona, Ana; Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg; Suarez-Diaz, Edna (eds.). The Hereditary Hourglass: Genetics and Epigenetics, 1868-2000. Preprint 392 (pp. 111-125). Berlin: Max Planck Insititute for the History of Science.
[download pdf]
2010. Meme, Meme, Meme. Philosophia Naturalis 46: 36-60.

[download pdf]


2009. Genetic determinism and the innate-acquired distinction. Medicine Studies 2: 167-181.
[download pdf]
2009. Creativity Naturalized. The Philosophical Quarterly 59: 577-592.
[download pdf]
2009. If there is nothing beyond the organic...: Heredity and Culture at the Boundaries of Anthropology in the Work of Alfred L. Kroeber. NTM- Journal of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine 17: 107-134.
[download pdf]
2008. Trigger me: Evolutionspsychologie, Genzentrismus und die Idee der Kultur. Darwin. Nach Feierabend - Jahrbuch für Wissensgeschichte 4: 31-46.

[download pdf]


2007. Is cultural evolution Lamarckian? Biology and Philosophy 22: 493-512.

[download pdf]


Open Access Note: If you cannot download a file because it is not open access, please feel free to contact me for a copy (via email or request-a-copy) or go to Phillister, the departmental publication list with further open access download functions. Or you can go to my Google-Scholar List for further links, citations, indices, etc.

Here is a complete list of publications for download.




2014 Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Research Group Twentieth Century History of Knowledge About Human Variation), Berlin
2013-14 Visiting Scholar at the Fishbein Center for History of Science and Medicine, Chicago
2012-13 Visting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science, Pittsburgh
2011  Karl Peter Grotemeyer-Preis.
2010 (since)  Juniorprofessor for Philosophy of Science, Bielefeld University.
2008-10  Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in Philosophy, Bielefeld University.
2008  Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize
2007  Karl Popper Essay Prize
2006-08  Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
2004  Visiting Fellow, Harvard University
2002-06  PhD-student at Regensburg University
2002-05  PhD-scholarship from the German National Scholarship Foundation



In the media



  • Discussion with Marshall Sahlins on the Western Illusion of Human Nature, Chicago
  • Radio-Interview: Is this real life?(Zündfunk), Bayern2
  • Radio-Interview: Forschen und Lehren als Juniorprofessorin, Deutschlandfunk
  • TV-Discussion: Evolution und Fortschritt (Sendung Scobel), 3SAT

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