Department of Philosophy

As an academic discipline, Philosophy is concerned with the fundamental methodological and systematic problems concerning human self-understanding and the understanding of our world. Philosophy deals with the terms of and the history of thought and cognition, with the position of human beings in the world, with the conditions and norms of his/her actions and interactions as well as with his/her status as a physical and mental being. Likewise, philosophy is concerned with the individual sciences: philosophy considers their classifications and methods, analyzes meaningful connections and the logical structure of theories and concepts and is concerned with the sciences’ categorical, individual and societal constraints.

The department of philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz is divided into six fields; three have a systematic approach, while the other three have a historical emphasis. However, this is not to say that historical concerns are ignored within the systematic fields nor are systematic approaches neglected within the departments’ historical sub-fields. This approach allows for the interrelatedness of the investigated positions, the systematic result of investigated positions and their interrelatedness.

Since 1990, the Kant Research Center, which emerged from the department’s Kant teaching and research specialty, belongs to the Department of Philosophy. The Schopenauer Research Center has also been affiliated with the department since 2001. In addition, in partnership with the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, the German-French Center for Blondel-Research exists within the Department of Philosophy.

Furthermore, the Philosophy Department is home to the University’s Dijon Office, which organizes and oversees the integrated Magister/ Maîtrise program of study.

The Student Union for philosophy students is also contained within the philosophy department, which represents the department’s students in the bodies of academic and student self- government. Additionally, it takes care of first-year students, particularly during the introductory week, and sponsors lecture series as well as independent readings.

The overall academic goal for students in the philosophy department is competence with regard to independent philosophical research. Such competence includes, among other things, a broad expert-knowledge, a distinct awareness of philosophical problems, well-versed use of subject-specific methods, as well as the ability to participate in written and oral discourse. In order to attain such competence, the students will become acquainted with the fundamental problems and topics of philosophy as well as their historic and systematic relationships during their academic instruction. Furthermore, students will practice methodological, logical-conceptual and interpretative analysis of problems and texts.

Among the goals of the courses within the philosophy department is the encouragement of adopting an attitude that is capable of crossing over the given boundaries, one that can articulate criticism and deal with such criticism. Also, given the increasing complexity and plurality of the modern world, the knowledge of one’s own cultural traditions and important features is significant, as is the overall competence of acknowledging and grappling with diverse and heterogeneous positions. Therefore, the philosophy department regularly sponsors interdisciplinary lectures with other departments and disciplines.