Thomas Sturm

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)


After studies in philosophy, history, and political science at the University of Göttingen and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), I obtained my PhD in 2007 from Marburg University. Before joining ICREA in 2014, I held positions at Marburg (Scientific Assistant, 1995-2000); UCSD (Visiting Lecturer, 2000), at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences & Humanities (BBAW - Scientific Coordinator, research group "Psychological Thought and Practice", 2001-2005), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Lorenz Krüger Fellow, 2005-2007, Research Fellow 2007-2009; here I co-directed 2 projects on "Historical Epistemology" & "Crisis Debates in Psychology"), and the Dept. of Philosophy, UAB (Ramón y Cajal Scholar, 2009-2014). I am member of the UAB's Center for History of Science (CEHIC) and an Associate Research Fellow at the Wilhelm Wundt Center for Philosophy & History of Psychology, Universidade Federal Juiz de Fora (Brazil).

Research interests

How is rationality understood in philosophy and the human sciences? How should it be understood? These are the guiding questions for much of my research, which comprises topics reaching from early modern philosophy – esp. from Immanuel Kant – up to ongoing discussions at the interface of philosophy, psychology, and economics. I focus on potentials and limits of empirical theories of rationality for naturalism, but I also study the role of such theories in politics, political science, and ethics. I’m moreover interested in the philosophy of knowledge, mind, and science. In all of this, I combine methods of analytic philosophy with the history of science: I am unconvinced by widespread opinions according to which they cannot, or should not, be integrated.

Selected publications

Sturm T 2016, ‘La intuición en la psicología de la racionalidad de Kahneman y Tversky’, In Cognición: Estudios multidisciplinarios, ed. by Hernández Chavez P, Garcia Campos J & Romo Pimientel M, México: Centro de Estudios Vicente Lombardo Toledano, pp. 265-304.

Selected research activities

As PI of the Barcelona HPS Group, I obtained MINECO funding for the project “Naturalism and the sciences of rationality: An integrated philosophy and history  (FFI2016-79923-P).

April-July 2016: Visiting professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Here I collaborated with Prof. Markus Willaschek and his team on Kant’s theory of reason, current theories of rationality, and and how to study these topics by an integrated history and philosophy of science. Prof. Willaschek and I also work on the Academy edition of Kant’s Gesammelte Schriften (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities).

November 2016: Organization of 1st Barcelona HPS Workshop on Scientific Authority and Scientific Fraud (jointly hosted by the Dept. of Philosophy and the Centre for History of Science (CEHIC), UAB)

Invited talks (selected)

  1. Dept. of Philosophy, U of the Basque Country, San Sebastian: Naturalism and the rationality debate in psychology and philosophy. Dec. 19, 2016
  2. Philosophische Sprache zwischen Innovation und Tradition – Conference, U of Düsseldorf: Rationality versus reason? Conceptual and terminological reflections on a distinction in John Rawls. August 6, 2016
  3. Dept. of Philosophy, U of Frankfurt: Rationality: The interface between philosophy and psychology. July 12, 2016
  4. The Current Relevance of Kant’s Method in Philosophy – Conference, U of Frankfurt: Kant and the disunity of reason in science. July 8-9, 2016
  5. Critical Connections – Conference, Tel Aviv University & The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute: The disunity of reason in science. June 20-23, 2016