Center for Life Ethics
Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 7
D-53113 Bonn


+49 228 73 66100


Our Current Courses for Students:

Introduction to Economic Ethics

The seminar offers an introduction to the ontological, sociological, and ethical foundations of
economic behaviour. Economic theories and their ethics are examined from the classical School of economics with Adam Smith and Karl Marx, over the Austrian School, to monetarism. Basic problems such as the reality of Pareto-optimal market conditions are discussed and modern alternatives to capitalism such as Wohlfahrtsökonomie, degrowth, and circular economies are presented. After the seminar, students will be able to identify conflicting goals between economic, political, and cultural spheres, and they will be able to assess the quality of the solutions offered for these conflicts. Students will improve their ability to analyse complex philosophical texts and apply their findings to current problems.



Lecturer: Dr. Sebastian Müller

Time: Tuesdays, 10:15–11:45, 09.04.2024–16.07.2024

Location: University of Bonn, Main Building, 1070, 53113 Bonn

From Onological Turn to Pluriversal Cosmopolitics: Knowledge Beyond Epistemology

(This course is held in englisch)


During the last three decades, authors from the humanities and philosophy have been turning attention from epistemology towards its ontological foundations. This ontological turn is increasingly becoming a turn towards the political dimension of ontological divergence in terms of alternative world making practices, each producing a certain world while precluding others. This, in a way, relocates the constructionist problem of epistemological relativism to the rather pragmatic, and thus, ethical question about the knowledge practices we need for building a better world.
During this seminar, we will read some seminal and contemporary texts, and reflect on implication for our conceptions of knowledge and reality


Lecturer: Jan Linhart, M.A.

Time: Tuesdays, 14:00–15:30, 09.04.2024–09.07.2024

Location: University of Bonn, IAK, Oxforstraße 15, 1.002, 53111 Bonn


Technologisation and its Material Downsides


Self-driving cars, surgical robots or the brand new iPad - technologies promise to make our lives better in many ways: more comfortable, more safe, more aesthetic, more healthy. Indeed, technological progress is set to make vital improvements in vital areas such as medicine. Moreover, apologists of transhumanism predict that biotechnology will completely eradicate ageing and illness from the human condition. But, in the shadow of this emancipatory rhetoric is a large proportion of the world's population living without access to existential technologies and goods such as clean drinking water, hygiene, food, vaccines - not to mention advanced socio-political technologies such as welfare state's safety nets. On the contrary, the workers, on whose exploitation the material production of some of these technologies depend and who, as the Foxconn case shows, only become visible as human beings through their suicides, are also extremely overshadowed. Against this background, it has been argued that the benefits of technological innovation for the privileged few and their trans-humanist ideals are structurally dependent on the cheap labour and de-humanization of many others. The seminar sheds light on the discourse outlined here and explores the ethical frameworks that are needed for a technological design and development that can enable a good life for all.


Lecturer: Peter Bröckerhoff, M.A.

Time: Wednesdays, 14:15–15:45, 10.04.2024–17.07.2024

Location: University of Bonn, Main Building, 1070, 53113 Bonn

John Rawls' Theory of Justice


John Rawls' Theory of Justice is considered one of the most important texts in modern political philosophy. Rawls' concepts of 'justice as fairness' and the 'veil of ignorance', as well as his critique of utilitarianism, continue to be influential in contemporary debates in practical philosophy. Rawls' work serves as a historical reference point for a wide range of schools and thinkers. The resurgence of contractualism, supposedly under a Kantian banner, has not only been praised but has also provoked counter-proposals that seek to distance themselves from Rawls' conception. Examples of this include modern libertarianism (f.e. Robert Nozick) and large sections of the communitarians. Therefore, this text is essential for engaging with modern debates in practical philosophy.
The seminar will critically analyse the work, focusing on the text itself. Individual elements of the theory will be examined in relation to its historical background, including Kant, Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau. Prior knowledge of Rawls is not necessary, only an interest in the subject and a willingness to read. Additionally, strategies for dealing with philosophical texts will be discussed.
Two excerpts from study sessions of your choice must be submitted. The seminar schedule can be accessed through the eCampus link.


Lecturer: Nicolas Knecht, M.A.

Time: Fridays, 12:15–13:45, 12.04.2024–19.07.2024

Location: University of Bonn, Main Building, 1070, 53113 Bonn

Our Current Courses for Students and the Interested Public:

Course: Freedoms - why and for what?


Right and freedoms allow us to live our lives according to our aspirations and beliefs, and to develop in a wide variety of ways. They also enable important social processes and functions.

On the other hand, freedoms are not infinite, but find their limits in the rights of others who are affected. Moreover, their guarantee is not always permanent: their scope and form can be subject to change, and they are often also subject to targeted political repression or various other threats.

But what do the many types of freedom actually mean, where do they come from and what purpose do they serve? How far do they extend and how are they to be weighed against each other? How can they be protected against various changes and in the face of threats?

In this seminar, we first examine the ethical and legal foundations of various freedoms and highlight their significance, origins, current guarantees and possible challenges. Together with experts from the field and in an excursion, we then explore the significance of freedoms for our daily lives, and discuss what freedoms mean for us in practice, how we live them and want to live them in the future, and how we can ensure their lasting preservation.


Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen/Dr. Björn Schmitz-Luhn

Time: Tuesdays, 14:00–15:30, 09.04.2024–09.07.2024

Location: Center for Life Ethics, Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 7, 53113 Bonn

Registration: please click here

Course: ThinkJourney: Towards what future do we want to live?


Together with recognized experts from science and society, we go on a weekly ThinkJourney to explore desirable futures in different areas of life, spanning the semester. Our guests present their research and discuss with students, young researchers and interested members of the public. At the end of the semester, the journeys of thought are followed by a joint journey in real life to a thematically relevant place or institution.


Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen/Dr. Björn Schmitz-Luhn

Time: Wednesdays, 14:00–15:30, 10.04.2024–10.07.2024

Location: Center for Life Ethics, Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 7, 53113 Bonn

Registration: please click here