Ralf Stoecker

Abteilung Philosophie
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Professor Dr. Ralf Stoecker

Professor of Practical Philosophy

Department of Philosophy
University of Bielefeld
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld

Office: Building X, A4-240

Phone: +49 (0)521-106-4583
Mail: ralf.stoecker@uni-bielefeld.de

Secretariat: Gudrun Bülter
Phone: +49 (0)521-106-6949
Mail: buelter.phil@uni-bielefeld.de

Office hours: by appointment
SoSe 2017: Thursdays 3pm - 4pm


Ralf Stoecker's areas of competence are in action theory and the ontology and metaphysics of personhood, as well as in applied ethics, with a focus particularly on questions concerning life and death, human dignity, autonomy and compulsion. In action theory he is defending a non-standard conception of agency (though broadly in the tradition of Donald Davidson), basing agency primarily on responsibility. Many of his papers on agency try to demonstrate how this conception could solve various standard difficulties in action theory (e.g. the problems of wayward causal chains, negative actions, first person authority, and side effects). In medical ethics, Stoecker has developed a solution to the problem of brain death that draws on the linguistic observation that the concepts of life and death are thick bundle concepts. Hence, there is no chance for establishing either that brain dead patients are still alive or that they are already dead. Instead of arguing about the exact locution of death, it is necessary to ask the ethical questions directly on how to treat these patients. Concerning human dignity, Stoecker endorses an understanding of this concept that closely relates it to contingent social dignity and humiliation. He has been exploring this approach in various contexts of applied ethics.


Administrative Roles

  • since 2016: Member of the DFG review board 108 (philosophy)
  • since 2011: Member of the German Ethical Review Board for Stem Cell Research
  • since 2008: Member of the executive board of the Academy for Ethics in Medicine
  • Co-editor of the book series "Practical Philosophy" (De Gruyter publishers)
  • Member of the Advisory Boards of:
    • Moral Philosophy and Politics
    • Ethical Perspectives
    • Ethik in der Medizin
    • Metaphysica
    • Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie





Edited books


Journal articles


Book articles


Contributions to encyclopedias and handbooks