More about the International Centre for Philosophy NRW

Currently North Rhine-Westphalia is the only federal state in Germany whose government has decided to place special emphasis on philosophy. Due to its already existent strong points in this subject, the University of Bonn was encouraged in 2008 to establish an internationally oriented centre of philosophy. “It is desirable”, says the motion of the CDU and FDP, “that there should be a special place in North Rhine-Westphalia which will serve as a focal place not only for country-wide but also for international activities.”

This motion by the North Rhine-Westphalian government was discussed at the plenary session of the parliament on February 12th of that same year, and on June 12th it was unanimously passed by all parties. Subsequently, on July 2nd, 2008, the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Bonn decided to establish such a centre of philosophy, then on August 15th the President’s Office agreed with the decision. Thus was our International Centre for Philosophy NRW constituted.

The founding director of the Centre was Prof. Wolfram Hogrebe. In 2012 the chairmanship was taken over by Prof. Markus Gabriel. Since 2013 the International Centre has been jointly headed by him and by Prof. Michael N. Forster, who holds an Alexander von Humboldt Chair at the University of Bonn. In addition to the two directors, our centre currently has 16 elected members researching, teaching and holding chairs at several German universities.

In line with contemporary developments and with a global orientation, the International Centre for Philosophy NRW supports intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange in the fields of philosophy and neighbouring disciplines. We consider it our task to advance the worldwide scientific networking of research and teaching in cooperation with our partners. In addition to guest lectures, symposiums and visiting professorships, this includes an international course of studies as well as an international doctoral college and an exchange programme for undergraduates and doctoral students.

Philosophy in Bonn can look back to a long list of illustrious alumni and researchers. Among others, Karl-Otto Apel, Oskar Becker, Jürgen Habermas, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, August Wilhelm von Schlegel und Josef Simon all studied or taught philosophy at the University of Bonn. In the spirit of this tradition, we do not restrict ourselves to a limited range of approaches or questions but are enthusiasts for our subject over its entire systematic and historical range. Our faculty, undergraduates, doctoral students and cooperation partners all benefit from this.

The University of Bonn has provided our International Centre with its own building, including a conference hall. You will find us at a top location between the University’s main building and the Poppelsdorfer Schloss. In addition to the two chairs of Prof. Forster and Prof. Gabriel, several research units and projects are also to be found here that have been established in connection with the Alexander von Humboldt Chair.