Maria Kronfeldner


Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51

Maria Kronfeldner works in the philosophy of the sciences, integrating it with other approaches in science studies, 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.

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, complexity, integration, unity and pluralism of scientific perspectives, nature-nurture discussions, cultural inheritance, cultural evolution, culture, creativity, evolutionary thinking more generally, genetic determinism.

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. In the last years, she worked on the concept of 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/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 recently published Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization is part of that project. The next stage of that project will focus on Complicity in Sciences. 

Service for the community: She is currently member of the advisory board of the Karl Popper Foundation, Steering Committee Member (Präsidium) of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Philosophie (OEGP), and member of the research network of the OSUN-funded Global Observatory on Academic Freedom. At CEU she is a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Social Mind Center. She is MA Program Director in the Philosophy Department, directs CEU's Philosophy Research and Publish Lab (launched in Fall 2015) and co-directs he Vienna Science Studies Lab. She is also co-organizer of the APSE-CEU-IVC lecture series and co-hosts a video-channel with Conversations in Socially Engaged Philosophy.

In the past, Maria 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. 

OFFICE HOURS (Nov 07-Dec 14): Special office hour on Tuesday, Nov 08, 10:30-1; 2-3:30; for the rest of the term, weekly: Mondays, 2:30-4:30; Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30. Consultations outside of these slots is possible as well. For online consultations it is necessary and for onsite consultations recommended to write an email before coming.

Recent conferences and workshops organized: 

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):

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PhD 2007, Philosophy, University of Regensburg