Associated Fellow, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Ethics and philosophy of education
I am professor of practical philosophy at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and work in ethics, applied ethics and political philosophy. During my time as a fellow, I will investigate conceptions of talents and potentials and their relevance for the philosophy of education. My aim is to clarify to what extent assumptions about talents and potentials are relevant for questions of educational justice. The reference to students being differentially talented is very common in debates about educational justice. It is striking that despite the centrality of the notion of ‘talent’ in these debates, the concept is hardly ever explicated. I will also examine assumptions about a good life that are relevant to the reasons for focusing on student potentials. Developing children’s abilities is instrumentally good for different careers, and the lack thereof can prevent access to them. In contrast to this kind of instrumental value, however, I am concerned with the fulfillment of potentials as a constitutive part of a flourishing life. For example, I will investigate whether reaching one’s full potential is to develop one’s self and whether perfectionist conceptions of the good life speak in favor of an intrinsic value of achievements.