Maria Kronfeldner

MA Program Director

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51 | D406

Languages spoken


Maria Kronfeldner works in the philosophy of the sciences, integrating it with other approaches in science studies and social philosophy. She is Professor at CEU since 2014. From 2010-2014 she was Junior Professor at Bielefeld University. Earlier she held several fellowships, among them at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin; at the Fishbein Center for History of Science and Medicine of the University of Chicago; at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh; and at the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science of the University of Sydney. She earned her PhD at the University of Regensburg in 2006. For her early work on creativity, she has been awarded The Karl Popper Essay Prize of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.  

Research keywords (more contemporary ones mentioned first): complicity in sciences, science and society, science and values, scientific responsibility, academic freedom/scientific freedom, dehumanization, humanity, human nature, essentialism, diversity, causation, explanation, classification, nature-nurture discussions, genetic causation, genetic determinism, cultural inheritance, cultural evolution, culture, creativity, evolutionary thinking more generally. 

Profile: During her graduate time, she focused on philosophy of mind, pragmatism, and environmental ethics. Combining her interest in philosophy of mind with her artistic activities (theatre, video, photography), she started research on philosophy of creativity. Since novelty is not only occurring in human minds, but also in nature, her research on the concept of creativity led her to the history and philosophy of the life sciences (HPLS). She has analysed Darwinian approaches to creativity and cultural evolution as well as the history of the concept of culture and cultural inheritance, and studied how to think about genetic determinism and how nature and nurture interact. She worked on the concept of human nature between science, philosophy and politics. Her book What's Left of Human Nature: A Post-essentialist, Pluralist and Interactive Account of a Contested Concept (2018, MIT Press) brings together several branches of her research, such as essentialism, causation, explanation, normalcy, reductionism, complexity, integration and unity of sciences, as well as science and values. A new project has recently been launched under the label The Epistemology of the In/Human, funded by CEU's Research Excellence Scheme. The project is a continuation of the project "Topics in the Human and Social Sciences" (ToPHSS), funded by the CEU Humanities initiative. The 2021 Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization is part of that project. The next stage of that project will focus on Complicity in Sciences, and how scientific freedom and responsibility connect. 

Service for the community: She is currently Steering Committee Member (Präsidium) of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Philosophie (OEGP), member of the advisory board of the Karl Popper Foundation, and member of the Leiden-based Research AFITE Network on Academic Freedom. At CEU she is  chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee and member of the Social Mind Center. She is MA Program Director in the Philosophy Department, directs CEU's Philosophy Research and Publish Lab, co-directs the Vienna Science Studies Lab, and co-hosts a video-channel with Conversations in Socially Engaged Philosophy

In the past, she was a member of the research network of the OSUN-funded Global Observatory on Academic Freedom (2022-), co-organized  the APSE-CEU-IVC lecture series (till Jan 2023), served as an advisory board member of the OSUN-funded Global Observatory on Academic Freedom (2021-2022), as steering committee member of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA, 2017-2021),  a council member of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB, 2013-17), and initiated and directed the German Network for Philosophy of the Life Sciences from 2011-2014. She has also served in recent years on a variety of program committees for international conferences.

Mentoring and engagement for an inclusive philosophy: Maria is a first-generation academic, mentoring junior members of her community via the CIVICA university alliance, the European Philosophy of Sience Association (EPSA), the East European Network for Philosophy of Science (EENPS), the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP), and Arbeiterkind e.V. But junior members are welcome to contact her for mentoring requests also independent of these initiatives. Maria is faculty member of the CEU chapter of the student-led Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) project, and committed to the Barcelona principles for a globally inclusive philosophy

OFFICE HOURS: Fall term default slots: Wednesdays 17:30-19:30, Thursdays 16:30-18:30 (till Dec 07). To prevent waiting time, I recommend writing a message to reserve a slot, but you can certainly also just come. If the default does not work out for you, we can also agree on a different time. Meetings from Dec 11-14, upon request. From Dec 15 till end of the year, I will be on vacation; please, make sure to  talk to me till Dec 14, should you need anything, a letter, consultations, etc). 

Latest book: "The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization" (2021), featuring articles from leading experts on dehumanization, from a diversity of social science and humanities disciplines.

Latest monograph: "What's Left of Human Nature: A post-essentialist, pluralist and interactive account of a contested concept" (2018) available from MIT Press. See: 

Selected recent papers, talks, media appearance and other news (for older news from AY 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 scroll down to File attachements and see the Archive):

Recent conferences and workshops organized: 

Videos and Podcasts

PhD Student advising

Mentorship and engagement for an inclusive philosophy


PhD 2007, Philosophy, University of Regensburg

Courses taught by Maria Kronfeldner

Events with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner

Academic freedom and the argument from truth
November 11, 2021 - 2:00pm
Epistemologies of Academic Freedom
October 4, 2021 - 1:30pm
Book Launch: The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization
March 23, 2021 - 4:30pm
The Self and the Foreign
May 14, 2020 - 4:00pm
Scientific Progress and the Search for Truth
October 22, 2019 - 4:00pm
Philosophy and/of Inclusion
May 3, 2019 - 7:00am
MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) lunchtime discussion with Jennifer Saul
March 5, 2019 - 11:30am
Panel Discussion: What history and sociology of science show about how to think about sciences
November 28, 2018 - 4:30pm
Who is afraid of values? Value-fact entanglements in scientific research – lessons from two case studies
July 9, 2018 - 1:00pm
Who is afraid of values? Value-fact entanglements in scientific research – lessons from two case studies.
July 9, 2018 - 1:00pm
Journalism and Politics in the Age of Misinformation - World Press Freedom Day at CEU
May 3, 2017 - 12:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: Celebrating Biodeconstruction
March 7, 2017 - 12:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: Why Race is Still Socially Constructed
February 28, 2017 - 12:30pm
CEU MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) meeting with Rebekka Hufendiek
February 22, 2017 - 4:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: The Essentialist Fallacy: Critical Theory and Naturalism
February 21, 2017 - 12:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: The Categorized and the Categorical Human in Human Rights
February 7, 2017 - 12:30pm
Dehumanization as Monstrification
January 31, 2017 - 4:30pm
ToPHSS Workshop on dehumanization
January 31, 2017 - 12:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: Between Science and Show: Human Zoos in the 19th and 20th Centuries
January 24, 2017 - 2:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: Humanization and Dehumanization within Enlightenment Debates: An Attempt to Contextualizing the Ape/Human Divide.
January 24, 2017 - 12:30pm
9th In-house Graduate Philosophy Conference
November 4, 2016 - 8:00am
Dehumanization: New approaches to understanding the politics of human nature
April 6, 2016 - 11:00am
ToPHSS Lectures on Science and the Value-Free Ideal - Heather Douglas (University of Waterloo)
March 30, 2016 - 3:30pm
ToPHSS Lectures on Science and the Value-Free Ideal - Julie Zahle (University of Copenhagen)
March 29, 2016 - 11:30am
Scientific Pluralism & Epistemic Relativism Workshop
February 19, 2016 - 1:00pm
ToPHSS Film Screening: "Secrecy," a documentary film by Peter Galison and Robb Moss
February 17, 2016 - 6:00pm
ToPHSS Lecture: Whose blood, which genes? Narratives and sampling strategies in Roma-related genetic research
February 2, 2016 - 12:30pm
ToPHSS Lecture: What is at stake in the ‘epigenetic revolution’?
January 19, 2016 - 12:30pm

Projects with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner