Practical Philosophy at the University of Cologne ››


Practical Philosophy at the University of Cologne: The practical branch of philosophy is concerned with the standards of right action and justice within social and political institutions. It also includes the study of moral concepts ("meta-ethics"), the structure of moral justification, and the nature of moral judgments. These general themes have been studied within all major periods of the history of practical philosophy. But against the background of social and institutional changes these general problems have tended to take on different concrete forms at different times in the history of philosophy. And so the basic questions within practical philosophy continually remain objects of current and renewed interest. For this reason historical and systematic questions stand in a dynamic and reciprocally challenging relation to one another within practical philosophy. And engagement with the authors of the philosophical classics (such as Aristotle and Kant) thus becomes both instructive and exciting. Since normative reflection on our personal and social practices cannot be wholly divorced from descriptive analyses of our actual practices, the major branches of practical philosophy – ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law – are all in part concerned with the analysis of human action as well as the structure and underlying mechanisms of our systems of social norms. For this reason interdisciplinary engagement with other fields that also study human action and social institutions is an important part of practical philosophy. The courses in practical philosophy that are taught at the University of Cologne cover both historical and systematic aspects of practical philosophy. Systematic problems, however, are the main focus of our research.