Thomas Sturm

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


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 (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), 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), the Kant-edition at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences & Humanities, 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. starting from Immanuel Kant - up to ongoing discussions at the interface of philosophy, psychology, and economics. I study aspects of reason in Kant's philosophy, such as his notions of truth and science; I analyze potentials and limits of current scientific theories of rationality; and 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 2017, 'What did Kant mean by and why did he adopt a cosmopolitan point of view in history?', in: Shaffner J & Wardle H (eds.), Cosmopolitics: The Collected Papers of the Open Anthropology Cooperative. St Andrews: OAC Press, vol. I, 72-88.

- Sturm T 2017, 'Reines und empirisches Selbstbewusstsein in Kants Anthropologie: Das “Ich” und die rationale Charakterentwicklung', Kant-Studien-Ergänzungshefte, 197, vol. 197, pp. 195-220.

- Sturm T & Kraus K 2017, 'An attractive alternative to empirical psychologies both in his day and our own? A critique of Patrick Frierson’s Kant’s Empirical Psychology', Studi Kantiani, vol. 30, pp. 203-223.

- Sturm T 2017, 'Reasoning one’s way through the Cold War (and beyond)', History of the Human Sci., vol. 30, 1-8.

Selected research activities


PI, Barcelona HPS (History & Philosophy of Science) Group (UAB Grup de Recerca)

PI, Naturalism and the sciences of rationality: An integrated philosophy and history (2016-2020) – MINECO project FFI2016-79923-P 

Member, Project New edition of Part I, “Works”, of the Academy edition of Kant’s Collected Writings (2017-2024; PI: V. Gerhardt, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities) – DFG project GE 657/16-1

Invited speaker at the Universities of Düsseldorf, Milan, Bonn, Utrecht, and Bremen

Dissemination of research: "The Science of Rationality and the Rationality of Science." Interview, Imperfect Cognition, 27/04/2017.

Organization of conferences:

Democracy, Secessionism, and the State of Law - with D. Gamper, Dec 2017

Epistemic Rationality - with C. Hoefer & S. Rosenkranz, Sept 2017

External Phd thesis Examiner: Peter Sperber, Kantian Psychologism, Utrecht, June 2017

Director of 6 ongoing PhD theses (2 of them in co-direction)

Editorial board memberConTextos Kantianos -  Enrahonar - Psicologia em Pesquisa (Psychology in Research) - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia

Review activities (selected)German Research Council (DFG);Ÿ MINECO; Journal for the History of Philosophy; Theory & Psychology