Praktische Philosophie

Abteilung Philosophie
  Flagge  Deutsch
Universität Bielefeld > Fakultät > Philosophie > Forschung > Praktische Philosophie

Practical Philosophy

We have two main research areas:

  1. Philosophy of action and philosophy of personhood: One of the most important and most interesting features of human beings is the ability to act. We change the world through our actions, and we are answerable to others as agents. Because we act we are persons. These relationships are subject of different research projects in Bielefeld:

    • What are actions?
    • What does "intentionality" mean?
    • How are actions and responsibility related?
    • What are we fundamentally?
  2. Philosophical foundations of applied ethics: Over the past years applied ethics has turned into one of the fastest growing research areas in philosophy. In light of its expanding range and the ever-increasing diversity of sub-areas within applied ethics, considerations of its fundamental philosophical concepts might fall short. The research in Bielefeld focusses on several of these fundamental concepts in applied ethics:

    • Life, death, brain-death and the ethics of organ transplantation
    • Killing and letting die
    • Human dignity and its violation as measure for ethical judgments
    • Autonomy and Informed Consent
    • Health and illness

Since to our opinion concepts from action theory play a prominent part in applied ethics, while actions in turn may best be understood in relation to the moral responsibility of agents, the two research areas are closely intertwined.


A list of upcoming events and recitals can be found in the German version of this Website.





Ralf Stoecker


Ralf Stoecker works in both research areas. In action theory, he has deviated from standard accounts and developed a conception of action based on the social practice of ascribing responsibility. This conception and its consequences for the self-concept of persons are part of his ongoing research. Furthermore, he offers a solution for the debate about brain-death that suggests a new understanding of an intermediate stage between life and death with distinct moral standing for brain-dead people. Finally, Ralf Stoecker develops a conception of human dignity that highlights the character of dignity. Human dignity is designed to be relevant for a range of different topics within Applied Ethics, but the attention is particular directed at the ethics of psychiatry.


Almut von Wedelstaedt


Almut von Wedelstaedt works mainly in the first research area. In particular, she asked herself what kind of creatures we as human beings essentially are. Part of her research on this question was her PhD thesis on philosophical theories of narrative identity. She continues this line of research, but now primarily works on the question, whether there is a connection between human nature and human morality.


Johanna Wagner


Johanna Wagner is primarily interested in the first research area. The focus of her current work is the relation of personal identity and observations from action theory. The main thesis of her work is that it is our specific ability to act that makes us persons. Closely related, her research also concerns questions about the possibility and limits of free will, a fundamental concept of will, and its relation to our action.


Pia Becker


Pia Becker focuses her research mainly on the second research area. She currently works on the relation between autonomy and informed consent. The primary goal of this work is an interdisciplinary understanding of how the mainly philosophical conception of personal autonomy is related to the principle of respect for autonomy in medical ethics and, ideally, to provide the medical ethics with a theoretically firm concept of autonomy, which helps to solve problems that are connected to the autonomy of patients and their decisions. Aside from this interest in autonomy and medical ethics, Pia Becker is interested in bioethics in general and, specifically, in the moral standing of human-animal mixtures and the concept of brain death as well as organ transplantation.


Paloma Schlichting

Paloma Schlichting is interested in many areas of philosophy, within and without the practical philosophy. She concerned herself with the question wether a promise should be kept and engages more and more in the second research area. In general, she is interested in interpersonal interactions, as well as the topics life and death, especially regarding dying and the handling of it.


Gudrun Bülter

Office and Administration





Doctoral Students

NameTopic of ResearchContakt
Becker, Pia "Autonomie als Grundlage medizinischer Behandlung" Mail
Christ, Sebastian Über die Todesfurcht in der analytischen Tradition: Antike Argumente in modernem Licht Mail
Ethen-Peters, Lisa Christine "Die Patientenverfügung und der autonome Patient. Autonomie im Spannungsfeld von Anwendung und Begründung" Mail
Herbst, Ina  "Dementielle Erkrankungen und das Recht auf Nichtwissen" Mail
Heyder, Clemens "Die ethischen Aspekte der Eizellspende" Mail
Hüllbrock, Linda Dynamische Verantwortung und moralische Zuständigkeit Mail
Kaup, Michael "PRIMUM NON NOCERE. Eine Analyse des Satzes 'Arzt Y schadet Patient X' und seine ethische Anwendung innerhalb der Medizinethik." Mail
Kotalík, Dorothea "Autonomie am Lebensende. Eine (medizin)ethische Herausforderung" Mail
Lenz, Petra "Das Ethos des Arztes in einem neuen Konzept von Krankheit" Mail
Müller, Julia Menschenwürde und Armut Mail
Röttger, Nele "Kann Krankheit die Selbstachtung gefährden?" (Arbeitstitel) Mail
Wagner, Johanna "Personen als Akteure" Mail
Zeh, Marco "Moral und Strafe – Die Idee der Strafe unter dem Blickwinkel der Moral" Mail