PD Dr. Frieder Vogelmann

PD Dr. Frieder Vogelmann

Acting Chair for Epistemology & Theory of Science

University College Freiburg

University of Freiburg


Currently, I am interim professor for epistemology & theory of science at the University College Freiburg and the Faculty of Humanities der University of Freiburg.

In my research, I focus on political epistemology, an emerging field of research in which I pursue the dual insight of early Frankfurt School Critical Theory that epistemology requires social theory just as social theory requires epistemology. Developing this insight in dialogue with analytic, continental and feminist epistemology on the one hand, and (French) political and social theory/philosophy on the other hand, I am finishing my book The Effectiveness of Knowledge. A Political Epistemology, to be published in 2022.

My further research projects – on alternative governmentalities, on the concept of responsibility, on the concept of critique and on Michel Foucault’s philosophical method – have a common methodological core, best described as a historical-critical conceptual analysis. Following Ludwig Wittgenstein and Michel Foucault, I take the meaning of concepts to be established by their use in our social practices. Yet these practices must have a history emerging from the social struggles in which they partake.

You can find further information in my CV or on my Academia.edu profile.

  • Political Epistemology
  • Critical Theory
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Michel Foucault
  • Responsibility
  • Contemporary French Philosophy
  • Habilitation and Award of the venia legendi in Philosophy, 2020

    University Frankfurt/Main

  • PhD in Philosophy, 2013

    University Frankfurt/Main

  • MA in Philosophy, Mathematics and Cognitive Science, 2009

    University of Freiburg im Breisgau

Academic Appointments

Recent Publications

In this article, I argue that (a) “force” and “normativity” are two paradigms the confrontation of which (b) repeats the struggle between neo-Kantian Normativism and life-philosophy in the 19th century but (c) changes the role of subjectivity fundamentally.
Kritische Theorie soll die Gesellschaft emanzipieren, statt sie wie herkömmliche Forschung nur zu erfassen. Die Grundzüge dieser engagierten Wissenschaft skizziert Max Horkheimer in seinem berühmten Aufsatz von 1937 in der Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung. Das Nachwort hilft, die schwierigen Konsequenzen dieser einfachen Idee nachzuvollziehen. Frieder Vogelmann stellt zudem die wichtigste Kritik an Horkheimers Argumenten sowie deren Weiterentwicklung in der Frankfurter Schule vor.

Upcoming Talks

There are no upcomming talks announced right now.

Recent Posts

Thomas Lemkes new book The Government of Things. Foucault and the New Materialisms has just been published by NYU Press. On 29 October 2021, from 5-7pm, Thomas Lemke will present the book in a discussion with Ute Tellmann (Darmstadt) and Reiner Keller (Augsburg).

The agora42 team asked three questions about the new edition of Max Horkheimer’s essay, a new edition of which I have recently published. You can now read my answers on the agora42 blog.
A series of online-talks on the different concepts that we use to analyse untruths in politics, from ideology and lies to half-truths and conspiracy theories.
If you have missed my inaugural lecture as a “Privatdozent” in philosophy, you can watch the recording at the media server of the University of Frankfurt. An abstract and details to the original event can be found here.
In this research project, I aim to write a genealogy of “normativity,” this “chief term” of philosophy.
The journal Behemoth publishes semi-annually research articles on contingent and sometimes precarious regimes of (dis)order.
How does knowledge affect us? What political significance do epistemological questions and insights have? My habilitation project investigates the force of knowledge
How can we govern in such a way that those governed need not fear those governing? What if the usual answer of political philosophy, namely “autonomy,” is not sufficient?
How do we picture the activity of criticising, and how does this influence our theoretical activity of explicating the concept of critique? What kind of knowledge do we produce in criticising? And what is the relation between critique and necessity?
Zeitschrift für philosophische Literatur is a peer-reviewed open-access online journal for book reviews in scholarly philosophy.
The book series Philosophie & Kritik. Beiträge zur politischen Philosophie und Kritischen Theorie will start in 2017 with Springer VS. It publishes books which understand themselves as politically engaged philosophy.
From a systematic perspective I am especially interested in Michel Foucault’s methodology and the resulting conception of (political) philosophy as well as his attempts to write a non-relativistic ‘History of Truth’.
That we should behave and act responsibly seems to be a self-evident norm hardly questioned by anyone. Yet, historically speaking, this is fairly new – only 200 years ago, “responsibility” was a rather marginal legal concept with no ethical significance. So what does the surprising career of “responsibility” mean, both for our thinking and our acting? What happens when “responsibility” becomes a required self-understanding for individuals at the workplace, in the welfare state or in the criminal justice system? And what are the consequences when philosophy’s analyses of “responsibility” focus almost exclusively on conditions of agency mostly absent in non-philosophical practices?


In the winter term 2021, I will teach the following courses:

Introduction to Feminist Science Studies [in German] together with Teija Wangler and Muriel Lorenz )
Syllabus Seminare
An introduction to feminist epistemology and feminist science studies.
Knowledge and Its Problems: An Introduction to Epistemology
Syllabus Online-Lecture with Workgroups
This lecture offers an overview of contemporary epistemology and introduces the basics of philosophical logic (propositional and first-order logic).
Political Responsibility: The Life of a Concept
Seminarplan Seminar
A seminar devoted to the conceptual history of “political responsibility”.

Notes on Term Papers

Scientific writing is not an easy task. To help you with the writing part and to give you some idea how to find a good research question for your term paper, I have assembled some tips in the Hausarbeiten-Survival Guide (currently only in German).