PD Dr. Frieder Vogelmann

PD Dr. Frieder Vogelmann

Interim Professor for Sociology with Focus on the History and Systematics of Social Sciences

Faculty of Social Sciences

Goethe University Frankfurt


Currently, I am interim professor for sociology with focus on the history and systematics of social sciences at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Goethe University Frankfurt.

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 wich they partake.

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

  • Critical Theory
  • Political Epistemology
  • 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
  • Interim Professor for Sociology with Focus on the History and Systematics of Social Sciences

    Goethe UniversityApril 2020 – September 2021 Frankfurt am Main

  • Visiting Professor for Critical Social Theory

    Goethe UniversityApril 2019 – March 2020 Frankfurt am Main

  • Assistant Professor for Political Theory

    SOCIUM/University of BremenApril 2018 – February 2020 Bremen

  • Assistant Professor for Political Theory

    InIIS/University of BremenOctober 2012 – March 2018 Bremen

Recent Publications

The Genealogy of Normativity
In this research project, I aim to write a genealogy of “normativity,” this “chief term” of philosophy.
BEHEMOTH - A Journal on Civilisation
The journal Behemoth publishes semi-annually research articles on contingent and sometimes precarious regimes of (dis)order.
The Effectiveness of Knowledge. A Political Epistemology
How does knowledge affect us? What political significance do epistemological questions and insights have? My habilitation project investigates the force of knowledge
Alternative Govern­mentalities
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?
Concepts of Critique
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
Zeitschrift für philosophische Literatur is a peer-reviewed open-access online journal for book reviews in scholarly philosophy.
Philosophie & Kritik. Beiträge zur politischen Philosophie und Kritischen Theorie
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.
Michel Foucault’s 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 summer term 2021, I will teach four courses (all in German):

Colloquium for Social Theory [in German]
We will discuss BA- and MA-theses as well as new literature.
From Politeness to Propaganda: Social Forms of Falsehood [in German]
Syllabus Online-Seminar
In the seminar, we will analyze social forms of falsehood, first in everyday life, like politeness, diplomacy and (white) lies, second in economics, from advertisement to corruption, and third in politics, as in propaganda and ideology.
Theories of Society: Habermas vs. Luhmann [in German]
Syllabus Online-Proseminar
In the seminar, we will discuss fundamental differences in the development of theories of society, using the theories of Habermas and Luhmann as examples.
Values in the Social Sciences [in German]
Seminarplan Online-Seminar
In this course, we will read texts from the different debates about the role of values in the social sciences, from the “Werturteilsstreit” and the “Positivismusstreit” to contemporary debates in feminist philosophy of science.

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 - so far only in German. If you are instead looking for answers how to format your paper, you should consult the explanations given by Prof. Dr. Tanja Brühl (in this file) or by Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke (in this file).