Thomas Sturm

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 (1995-2000); UCSD (2000), the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences & Humanities (2001-2005), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (2005-2009), and the Dept. of Philosophy, UAB (Ramón y Cajal Scholar, 2009-2014). I am also a member of the CEHIC (UAB), the LOGOS group (UB), the Kant-edition project at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences & Humanities, and Associate Research Fellow at the Wundt Center for Philosophy & History of Psychology, Universidade Federal Juiz de Fora (Brazil). In 2019, I became elected member of the Academia Europea and Head of the Kantian Rationality Lab at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University at Kaliningrad.

Research interests

How is rationality understood in philosophy and the human sciences? How should it be understood? What is its function in various domains? These are the guiding questions for my research, which comprises topics reaching from early modern philosophy – esp. Immanuel Kant’s philosophy – up to current discussions at the interface of philosophy, psychology, and economics. I study aspects of reason in Kant’s philosophy in relation to his notions of truth and the systematicity of science; I analyze the history as well as the potentials and limits of current psychological theories of rationality; and I also study their role in politics, social science, and ethics. I’m moreover interested in the philosophy of knowledge, mind, and science. Methodologically, I combine tools of analytic philosophy and history of science: I am unconvinced by widespread opinions according to which they cannot, or should not, be integrated.

Selected publications

Sturm T 2020, ‘Kant on the ends of the sciences’, Kant-Studien, 101, 1-28.

Sturm T 2020, ‘Towards a critical naturalism about bounded rationality’, Handbook on Bounded Rationality, ed. by R. Viale, London: Routledge, pp. 73-89.

Selected research activities

In November 2020, I obtained a major DFG grant for the project Rationality as “Pragmatic Worldly Prudence”: Kant’s Anthropology and the Modern Social Sciences. For this, I will be Mercator Fellow at the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main during several periods from 2021-2024.

Ongoing projects:

PI, Kantian Rationality and Its Impact in Contemporary Science, Technology, and Social Institutions (2019-2021, Russian Ministry of Science project no. 2019-220-07-5933), Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad

PI, Naturalism and the Sciences of Rationality (2016-2020) – MINECO project FFI2016-79923-P

PI, Barcelona HPS Group – UAB

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

Conference organizationKantian Rationality in Philosophy of Science, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, October 2020

Opponent (External Examiner) for PhD thesis of Johan Boberg (Philosophy, U Uppsala): Scientifically minded: Science, the subject, and Kant’s critical philosophy (February 2020)

Director of 5 ongoing PhD theses

Advisory Board Member, History of Philosophy and Science (DeGruyter book series)

Reviewer for (selected): Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities; Leverhulme Trust; German Research Council (DFG); Cognitive Science; Cognition; HOPOS; Kant-Studien; Studies in History and Philosophy of Science; Synthese