About the Research at the Chair

The research at the Chair of Political Philosophy,  Political Theory and History of Political Ideas at FAU is focused on two main areas of investigation: (a) the cognitive structures of politics and (b) the political dimensions of human corporeality (bio politics/life sciences). Both research areas are treated in connection with questions of hermeneutics and political methodology.

(a) To the cognitive structures of politics we count the effective presence of knowledge bases in political processes and relevant types of political uses of reason. The detection and categorical analysis of different types of political uses of reason, marks an innovative research approach with regard to historical, cultural and religious forms of political thought, which are distinct in the intellectual history and in the history of ideas of different civilizations, particularly in Asia, Europe and North America. Additionally to the formation of types, their changing cultural dominance and historical efficacy are objects of research. The typology is clustered around a constellation founded in the history of ideas of anthropological (reason or body centered) and political (understanding oriented or based upon conflict) basic patterns, which are expressed for example in noetic, somatic, constructivist and religious types. The research interest is particularly oriented towards the understanding of the cognitive contents of democratic politics in opposition to authoritarian and totalitarian types of thought. This encompasses:

  • the philosophical explication of relevant contents of central types of political uses of reason,
  • the foundation of the expression of these types in the history of ideas with emphasis on antiquity (e.g. Plato, Aristotle) and its reception in the present, on modern contractualism (e.g. Hobbes), on German idealism (e.g. Kant, Hegel), on 19th century conservatism (e.g. von Gerlach, von Haller, Stahl) as well as on 20th century and contemporary political philosophy (e.g. Arendt, Kojève, Rawls, Strauss, Voegelin),
  • the elaboration of the premises in and implications for democratic theory,
  • the methodological and scientific theoretical foundation of the typological approach.

(b) The political problematic of the body is – as a complementary counterpart to the typology of political uses of reason – a further central object of research. The human body is made a subject of discussion in its political functionality, i.e., as a problem and an object of politics (e.g. gender and social policy), as reference point for basic understandings of politics, in the consequential analysis and conception of politics and in the structuring of political practice. At the same time the strictly speaking bio political dimension of scientific and technological objectification of human life and of nature is a central reference point of research interests and current research projects. From this point of view, the research in political theory is defined in a relevant sense as life science.