I am a political philosopher, currently based at the Cluster of Excellence The Formation of Normative Orders at Goethe University Frankfurt/Main.
Prior to that, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies Justitia Amplificata.
In my research, I attempt to make themes from Kant’s philosophy fruitful for a variety of issues in contemporary political philosophy. Prior work (including my Phd thesis, which is available here) focused on Kant’s cosmopolitanism and its relation to topical debates at the intersection of migration, membership and boundaries. My current project develops a Kant-inspired framework for thinking about the role and significance of hope specifically in the context of democratic politics.
The language of hope is ubiquitous in democratic life. Citizens hope for their cause or candidate to prevail, activists describe their fight against oppression and injustice as bolstered by shared hopes, politicians invoke hope to galvanize support. Yet even in political discourse the value of hope no longer remains undisputed. Politicians who invoke hope against the corroding confidence in democratic institutions are readily accused of leading people down the primrose path with empty rhetoric. Citizens wonder which hopes they can share with others in societies characterized by deep disagreement about values and worldviews. And activists engaged in the fight against global warming prefer to instill an unvarnished fear of the imminent climate catastrophe rather than a hopeful outlook that might lead people to lean back complacently.
Given that the rhetoric of hope is such a salient yet increasingly contested part of democracy, it is surprising how neglected the topic remains in political philosophy. The aim of my project is to develop a systematic normative framework that is sensitive both to the unavoidability of hope in democracy and to its dangers. In order to do so, it will draw on resources from democratic theory, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, and moral psychology, as well as important social scientific insights about the dynamics of social change and transformation.
The project focuses in particular on the value, objects and normativity of hope in democratic life. What may citizens of modern, diverse democracies reasonably hope for? Why does it matter that they have certain hopes and do we have any normative reasons to prefer hope to alternative attitudes such as fear, on the one hand, or optimism, on the other? Finally, what are the appropriate normative concepts to investigate the role of democratic hope: do citizens have an obligation to hope under the right circumstances, and (reversely) do they have a right that political institution create the conditions in which certain hopes can be cultivated? While the primary aim of the project is to introduce hope as an important issue in democratic theory, its insights will be of interest also to a wide array of philosophers and social scientists.
I also hold an MSc in International Relations Theory (with Distinction) from the LSE.
- In August 2019, I will be at the 13th International Kant Congress in Oslo.
- In August 2019, I will participate in a roundtable discussion of Annie Stilz’s Territorial Sovereignty: A Philosophical Exploration at APSA in Washington, DC.
- During September and October 2019, I will be a Visiting Scholar with the Research Group on Global Justice at McGill University in Montreal.
Putting proximity in its place
Defying Democratic Despair: A Kantian Account of Hope in Politics
EU Citizens in Post-Brexit UK: The Case for Automatic Naturalisation
Legitimacy as Public Willing: Kant on Freedom and the Law
Gentrification and Occupancy Rights (co-authored with Fabio Wolkenstein)
in Politics, Philosophy & Economics 17(4), 2018, 378–397. [published version]
Kant’s cosmopolitanism as a task set to humankind
Pragmatic Belief and Political Agency
Theorising from the Global Standpoint: Kant and Grotius on Original Common Possession of the Earth
Cosmopolitanism for Earth Dwellers: Kant on the Right to be Somewhere
No right to unilaterally claim your territory: on the consistency of Kantian statism
What makes Human Rights ‘Political’? A Kantian Critique
in Journal for Human Rights / Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte 7(2), 2013, pp. 127-141. [published version]
The Underrated Premium of Territorial Arrival
forthcoming 2020 in The Shifting Border: Ayelet Shachar in Dialogue, part of the „Critical Powers“ series edited by Antony Simon Laden, Peter Niesen and David Owen (Manchester: Manchester University Press).
Hoffnung und Utopie (co-authored with Claudia Blöser)
forthcoming in Handbuch Religionsphilosophie, edited by Heiko Schulz, Christian Wiese, Catherina Wenzel (Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag).
Review of „The Struggle for Democracy: Paradoxes of Progress and the Politics of Change“ by Christopher Meckstroth (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
in Constellations 18(4), 2018, 628-648. [published version]
Review of „As If: Idealization and Ideals“ by Kwame Anthony Appiah (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017).
forthcoming in Contemporary Political Theory. [online first]
I teach both in the history of political thought and contemporary political philosophy. Here are some of the seminars I currently teach or have taught in the past:
„Der Mensch ist frei geboren und überall liegt er in Ketten“ - Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), einer der bedeutendsten Philosophen des 18. Jahrhunderts und geistiger Wegbereiter der französischen Revolution, betrachtet die politischen und sozialen Ordnungen moderner Gesellschaften als Gefährdungen menschlicher Freiheit und individueller Selbstverwirklichung, da diese Menschen der Autorität des Staates unterwerfen und ein überhöhtes Selbstwertgefühl hervorbringen.
Rousseau versucht daher politischer Institutionen zu entwerfen, die menschliche Freiheit bewahren, sowie Formen der Erziehung und Bildung, die das Entstehen eines überhöhten Selbstwertgefühls verhindern.
Ziel dieses Lektüreseminars ist es, die wichtigsten politiktheoretischen Schriften Rousseaus kritisch zu analysieren. Dadurch werden die Studierenden an Fragen und Begriffe (z.B. Freiheit, Gleichheit, Demokratie, Gemeinwille, Volkssouveränität) herangeführt, die nicht nur für Rousseaus politische Philosophie, sondern für die moderne politische Theorie als Ganze zentral sind.
Voraussetzung für die Teilnahme am Seminar ist die Bereitschaft zur intensiven Auseinandersetzung mit den Primärtexten und zur Lektüre auch englischer Sekundärliteratur.