Maria Kronfeldner


Contact information

Budapest, Nador u. 13 | 201 (for office hours see page at department)
+36 1 327-3000 x2853

Maria Kronfeldner works in the philosophy of the life sciences and the philosophy of the social sciences and has published widely in these areas. She has been awarded The Karl Popper Essay Prize of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and The Philosophical Quarterly International Essay Prize. 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.

Area of specialisation: philosophy of the life sciences, philosophy of the social sciences, in particular philosophy of anthropology, social philosophy.

Area of competence: history of the life sciences, general philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind.

Research focus: anthropology, human nature, dehumanization, essentialism, causation, explanation, complexity, integration, unity and pluralism of scientific perspectives, science and values, biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology.

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.

In the last years, she worked on human nature between science, philosophy and politics. Her new 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/HumanThe project is a continuation of the project "Topics in the Human and Social Sciences" (ToPHSS), funded by the CEU Humanities initiative. So far it included an interdisciplinary and international conference on Dehumanization: New approaches to the politics of human nature (April 2016) and a smaller philosophical Workshop on Dehumanization (Jan 2017), and further events.

Service for the community: She has recently been elected as new steering committee member of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA). She served as a council member of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) from 2013-17, 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. 

At the CEU she is a member of the Social Mind Center, the Science Studies Research Group, directs the Philosophy Research and Publish Lab (launched in Fall 2015), co-directs the Science-Studies Lab.

NEW! Call for Two Fully Funded Interdisiciplinary PhD Fellowships in the thematic area "Exclusion and Inclusion in Context: The Invention of Humanity and Dehumanization." See here. (Application period now closed; will be re-opened in due time if necessary) 

Recent conferences and workshops organized:

Recent book: "What's Left of Human Nature" now available from MIT Press. See: 

Selected recent draft 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):

  • Invited Response on "Ausgrenzung oder Diskurs? Fragen des Umgangs mit extremen Positionen" (Exclusion or discussion? How to react to extremist positions), to appear at Information Philosophie
  • Interview on Can we get rid of dehumanization? In the Hungarian weekly Élet és Irodalom (vol. LXIII/30), Jul 26,2019. Interviewer: László Köszeghy. 
  • Keynote at ELTE's "Human Enigma" Group Conference on Dehumanization, 07-08 Jan 2019, Budapest. 
  • Blog post on CEU "A university goes into exile", American Philosophical Association (APA) Blog, 03 Jan 2019.  
  • Paper "On academic freedom as a prerequisite for scientific creativity" (draft) to be presented at the 2019 British Society of Aesthetics Connection Conference "Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences", Bristol, 16-17 Apr, 2019. 
  • Paper "Digging the channels of inheritance" (draft), submitted as part of a special issue cultural evolution. 
  • Paper "Essentialism and Dehumanization" (draft) to be published as part of a Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization, publication estimate: fall 2020. 
  • Paper "Wie sollen sich Philosoph*innen in politischen Debatten äußern" (draft, with Alexander Reutlinger) presented at Workshop "Die gesellschaftliche Rolle der Philosophie", Erlangen, 01-02 Nov, 2018. 
  • Paper "Two Reasons Why the Purist Approach to Science Fails" (draft) presented at the Conference of the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP), Cologne, 17-20 Sep, 2018.
  • Keynote "Explanatory Looping Effects", at the European Network for Philosophy of the Social Sciences (ENPOSS) Meeting 2018, 30 Aug - 01 Sep, 2018. (Relates to one chapter of the new book "What's Left of Human Nature" (see above). 
  • Paper "Divide and Conquer: The Authority of Nature and Why We Disagree about Human Nature" now published

Videos and Podcasts

PhD Student advising

Community engagement 


PhD 2007, Philosophy, University of Regensburg

Courses taught by Maria Kronfeldner

Events with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner

Projects with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner