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Dr. phil. Fabian Hundertmark

M.C. Escher-Like Photography
picture by IlNat (lincenced under Creative Commons)

Dr. phil. Fabian Hundertmark

picture of Fabian Hundertmark

Abteilung Philosophie
Universität Bielefeld
Postfach 10 01 31
D - 33501 Bielefeld

Dr. Fabian Hundertmark


+49 521 106-4593
Gebäude X A4-250
Research Interests
  • Philosophy of Psychiatry
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Biology

I am currently part of the research group Dispositions in the Life Sciences as part of DFG research unit Inductive Metaphysics.

Mental disorders as modal properties

Abstract picture with woman head in the middle and various shapes around

In this project, I am investigating the question of what mental disorders are. My goal is to establish a comprehensive theory that answers both the question of the basic ontological category, the question of the individuation of individual types of disorders, and the question of the specific properties of mental disorders. I assume that mental disorders are dispositions to think, feel, or act. Types of mental disorders are individuated by their manifestations, causes, causal basis, or combinations of these factors, and the types so individuated are mental disorders (e.g., as opposed to personality types, cognitive abilities, or intellectual virtues) because they are harmful, irrational deviations from statistical norms.

Dispositions in biology, psychology and psychiatry

together with Marie Kaiser, Marí­a Ferreira Ruiz and Javier Juárez Diaz

Picture of diverse butterflies

In this project, we investigate the features of dispositional properties in biology, psychology, and psychiatry. In this project we show on the one hand that it is theoretically and practically fruitful to understand phenomena in the mentioned sciences as dispositions. On the other hand, we use examples of dispositions from the life sciences to give impulses for the metaphysical debate on dispositions. For instance, we show that causal bases in the aforementioned sciences are often extrinsic, processual, and contrastive. Furthermore, we use examples from the life sciences to argue for the ontological context-dependence of biological dispositions.

Non-fundamental modal properties

partly together with María Ferreira Ruiz

Picture of cracked wine glass

In this project, I address two previously understudied questions related to nonfundamental modal properties. Nonfundamental modal properties have a causal basis. In a first paper (co-authored with María Ferreira Ruiz, Bielefeld University), we explore the notion of causal basis and argue for the position that causal bases must have both a causal role for manifestation and a metaphysical grounding role for instantiation of the modal property. Combining these roles allows for important distinctions (e.g., between causal bases and manifestation conditions), captures relevant traditional features of causal bases, and can help ensure the causal efficacy of dispositional instantiations. At the same time, our theory allows neutrality with respect to fundamental properties, the existence of dispositional or extrinsic causal bases, multi-track dispositions, and the reducibility of dispositional predicates. The second part of this project is concerned with the question of what distinguishes non-fundamental multi-track dispositions from co-instantiated single-track dispositions. My working hypothesis is that non-fundamental multi-track dispositions are homeostatic clusters of properties.

Biological functions as selected dispositions

partly together with Marlene van den Bos

Black and white picture of zebras in the savanna

In this project, I develop a theory of biological functions as selected dispositions. This theory is particularly well suited to play important roles in philosophy of mind, psychiatry, and medicine. Unlike competing theories, it explains the gradability of dysfunctions, the productivity of biological functions, and the difference between dysfunctions and defects.

Biological Functions in Teleological Theories of Mental Content

2014 - 2019

Picture of bearded guy operating on his own mechanical brain

Teleosemantic theories provide promising, naturalistic explanations for the content of perceptual states. The notion of function has a central explanatory role here. In this project, I have developed a theory of function suitable for this purpose, synthesizing evolutionary and dispositional theories, combining their respective advantages and avoiding their problems.

This research was conducted as part of the DFG project "Advancing Teleosemantics".

The Linguistic Characterisation of Mental Content

2018 - 2022

Picture sitting of frog with fly on one limb

The contents of mental representations of non-human animals, in human core cognition and perception cannot be precisely described by sentences of a natural language. However, this fact does not prevent us from inaccurately characterizing these contents by natural language. In this project, I have developed a theory (using possible worlds of semantics, set theory, and measure theory) that can be used to capture the precision of content characterizations.

Cognitive achievements

2018 - 2021 - together with Steven Kindley

Picture of boy doing archery

Virtue reliabilism assumes that knowledge is a cognitive achievement – an epistemic success attributable to the cognitive abilities of the knowing subject. Apart from this consensus, there is no agreement among proponents of virtue reliabilism about the conditions under which the relevant relationship between an epistemic success and a person's cognitive abilities exists. In this project, we have developed a new and attractive view of this relationship and applied it to virtue reliabilism. The resulting theory can handle cases of epistemic happiness and testimonial knowledge, among others.

The Extended Mind Thesis

2009 - 2015

Picture of woman head connected via nerves to the environment

In this project, I investigated the plausibility of the extended mind thesis. A particular focus was on the question of what implications different variants of functionalism and teleosemantics have for this thesis.

SoSe 2023

  • Philosophie der Psychiatrie: Zur Natur und Klassifikation psychischer Störungen (eKVV Link)

SoSe 2023

WiSe 2022/2023

  • Models, Science & the World (at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)
  • Philosophy of Psychology (eKVV Link)

SoSe 2022

WiSe 2021/2022

SoSe 2021

  • Irritability, Toxicity, and Fragility: The Puzzling Metaphysics of Dispositions (eKVV Link)

WiSe 2020/2021

  • Introduction to Epistemology (eKVV Link)
  • Beginners course: Introduction to Epistemology (eKVV Link)
  • The study of mental illness (eKVV Link)

SoSe 2020

  • Writing course: Scientific Explanation (eKVV Link)

WiSe 2019/2020

  • Philosophy of Psychiatry (eKVV Link)
  • Biological Functions: Natural Normativity and its Philosophical Relevance (With authors colloquium) (eKVV Link)

SoSe 2019

  • Writing course: Animal minds (eKVV Link)
  • Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (eKVV Link)

WiSe 2018/2019

WiSe 2016/2017

SoSe 2015

  • Varieties of Meaning in Language and Thought: Ruth Millikans Biosemantics (eKVV Link)

SoSe 2014

WiSe 2012/2015 - WiSe 2014/2015

  • Tutorials for the basic courses Theoretical and Practical Philosophy
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