The historical emphasis of the Modern Philosophy specialization rests on the philosophy of the European Enlightenment. The philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is the focal point of the Enlightenment. Also important are the works immediately preceding Kant and the reception of Kant’s works within German Idealism (Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel) and in modern and contemporary systematical debates. In addition, the investigations of the British Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries (John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, Thomas Reid and Adam Smith) and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer are also given special attention. Modern philosophy is concerned with issues related to practical philosophy, such as human rights, normative practices and moral motivation.
With regard to teaching, a great emphasis is placed on close textual analysis of terms and arguments, their historical and systematical contexts, as well as the discussion of their relevance in contemporary debates.
The specialty of Modern Philosophy, which includes the Kant Research Center (acting director: Dr. Margit Ruffing), the Kant-Studien Editorial Staff and the Schopenhauer Research Center (director: Prof. Dr. Mathias Koßler) has various, strong international contacts at its disposal. These connections enable this department specialty to host foreign researchers and scholars, as well as workshops and conferences.