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), a smaller philosophical Workshop on Dehumanization (Jan 2017), and further events. In 2020, we will have a Workshop on Dehumanization and Narrative Empathy in Literary Theory and Philosophy, co-organized with Andrea Timár, Senior Core Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at CEU, Budapest. In cooperation with the artist Lukas Einsele and the Group Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V, we will also realize the philosophical-artistic project Hiding Faces, studying and visualizing togehter the cultural, social and philosophical meanings of faces, in order to understand how contemporary technological and social challenges affect our ways of being human. 

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. She is also a member of CEU's Psychological Research Ethics Board.   

NEW! (as part of the Epistemology of the In/Human Project) 

  • We will edit the Routledge Handbook on Dehumanization, featuring 25 articles from leading experts on dehumanization, from a diversity of social science and humanities disciplines.
  • We offer Two Fully Funded Interdisiciplinary PhD Fellowships in the thematic area "Understanding Humanity". See here. (Call now reopened till Mar 31). 

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):

Videos and Podcasts

PhD Student advising

Community engagement 


PhD 2007, Philosophy, University of Regensburg

Projects with involvement of Maria Kronfeldner