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Research profile

Philosophy is the systematic and general reflection over the basic structure of reality, and the conditions for human existence, knowledge, and action. Intellectual history is the study of the historical development of philosophy, religion, art, and science. Relying on analysis of concepts and their history, philosophy and intellectual history seeks to reflect both the everyday and scientific understanding of the natural, social, and cultural world, often with a critical and constructive perspective.


Both philosophy and intellectual history seek a generality and scope that at once connects them and set them apart from all other academic areas, whether of a practical or theoretical nature. It is therefore a defining feature of both disciplines that they seek to be relevant both to all other academic disciplines, and to the society at large. Current societal challenges concerning e.g. globalization, sustainability, bioethics, justice, welfare, and freedom of research calls for philosophical analysis, and understanding of their place in intellectual history.


The Aarhus University Research Programme for Philosophy and Intellectual History is one of the largest and widest-ranging research units of its kind in Northern Europe, with more than 35 permanent and post-doctoral researchers, and around 20 PhD students. The Programme covers all of the main areas of philosophy and intellectual history, with particular strengths in social and political thought, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, phenomenology, German idealism, aesthetics, and philosophy of science and cognition, represented in six distinct research units. The Programme currently hosts a number of externally funded research projects, treating such diverse topics as risk in healthcare, the history of economics, modal knowledge, social robotics, and more.


Members of the programme collaborate with researchers from a large number of universities internationally, and from many other disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, history, economics, medicine, physics, and robotics. Many programme members also work closely with non-academic practitioners and institutions.


The Programme each year arranges numerous workshops and research seminars within the many areas of interest represented. A calendar of these activities will be maintained on this website, and the programme welcomes anyone interested in collaboration or participation in the programme’s activities.