Maria Kronfeldner

MA Program Director

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
Office Hours: 
April: April 02, 1.30-5; April 04, 1.30-5; from April 5 - April 18, I will be out of office. April 19 (t.b.d.); April 22 (t.b.d.); April 30 (t.b.d.). 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. Should I be unable to make it, I will announce it here as well. May/June: Drop me a message to arrange for a meeting.

Maria Kronfeldner works in the philosophy of the sciences (life sciences, social sciences, humanities), 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. She is currently working mainly on human life (human nature, human kinds) and the negations of it (dehumanization, inhumanity). 

Research keywords (more contemporary ones mentioned first):  inhumanity, dehumanization, humanity, human nature, human kinds, crisis of knowledge about the human, complicity in sciences, science and society, science and values, scientific responsibility, academic freedom/scientific freedom, essentialism, 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, wood works, fabric works), 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. 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 rebut genetic determinism, 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 long-term 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. As a key researcher of the Excellence Cluster Project Knowledge in Crisis, she contributes work on the crisis of knowledge about the human. 

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: May/June: Drop me a message to arrange for a meeting. 

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

Latest monograph: "What's Left of Human Nature: A post-essentialist, pluralist and interactive account of a contested concept" (2018, 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

Projects with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner