My key activities clearly bear the mark of my practical interest in teaching. The experience of the last few years has shown me that the mediation of knowledge and the teaching of autonomous thought is a difficult challenge, which puts the teacher continuously to the test. I find committed cooperation with people as important as scientific investigation or the study of texts. It is conceptually and practically demanding to design education in such a way that students are able to continue analysis autonomously.

History

Modern history classes should shy away from presenting the past as an ideology, served up on a plate. This, quite rightly, only alienates the students and nothing will be learned. To parrot facts and names – without any temporal contextualization and without establishing the particular perspective, led by interests of the time – kills history, both as a subject and as a discipline. If an analysis of the past is to help the students understand their own present and so criticize it, they have to be actively involved in the process of interpretation. They have to analyze and present the different aspects of an issue individually or in groups. In doing so, the concept of the historical model plays an important role in understanding past events and structures as processes of change which can be significant for us today. I have a specific interest in presenting a critical confrontation with the notion of democracy, and its respective values.

Ethics / Practical Philosophy

Lectures on ethics have to be confrontational. Practical philosophy is, indeed, reflection on the conflict of values and the dilemma of codes. In my lectures I centre the learning process around debates on norms, codes, values and opinions. How do we justify norms? And by what criteria do we do so? Thus the purpose of the discussion is to shed light on both the historical and systematic dimensions of ethics. That is why my lectures are characterized, on the one hand, by the analysis of historical positions (Aristotle, Epicure, Stoics, Bentham, Mill, Kant etc.) while, on the other, by systematically questioning such positions with respect to modern conflicts of values (abortion, patriotism, human rights, homosexuality, stem cell research etc.). In particular the intersection of ethics and economics becomes an important issue for ethical reflection, bearing in mind the disappointment many feel with the current crisis and injustice of the economic and social system.