The contribution of philosophy is knowledge

The master's degree in Philosophy of Knowledge Forms consists of 6 compulsory modules: the introductory module MA1, the thematically oriented modules MA2-MA5 and the interpretation course MA6.

(To view the individual module descriptions, please click on the respective topic clusters in the following illustration.)



MA 1 Introduction to the Philosophy of Knowledge Forms

The MA1 module serves to introduce students to the history of philosophy, systematic and interdisciplinary perspectives of the Master’s degree in Philosophy of Forms of Knowledge. For this purpose, the sub-aspects included in the program - the theory of science, forms of practical knowledge, narrative and non-discursive forms of knowledge as well as historical forms of knowledge - are to be presented and exemplarily worked on.

Reflecting on the acquisition, forms and ways of conveying knowledge has been one of the central topics of philosophy since ancient times. It has always been not just about the theoretical aspects of an adequate justification and explanation. The complete disjunction of well-founded knowledge and unfounded opinion is already contrasted by Plato and Aristotle with a diversification into different forms and degrees of knowledge as well as a distinction between different goals of knowledge. In particular, practical-moral questions arise, for example about the obligation through what is known or about the status of knowledge about the good.
Both the historical continuity of the philosophical debate on these topics and the modern insight into the diachronic and synchronous diversity of forms of knowledge, styles of thought and cultures of knowledge demonstrate the continuing presence and relevance of the philosophy of a form of knowledge.


The modules MA2-MA5 are interdisciplinary. One of two courses in each of these modules is imported from cooperating subject areas or departments. A close coordination of the content is planned here.


MA 2 Philosophy of Science

While the questions “What is knowledge?” Or “What is science?” Belong in the canon of topics in classical philosophy, a theory of science in the narrower sense only emerged as a result of the diversification of scientific sub-disciplines in the last 250 years. Since the positivist and neopositivist programs, "philosophy of science" has not only stood for a close orientation to the empirical specialist sciences, but also for a clear distinction from the philosophical (metaphysical) tradition. In its heyday in the 20th century, the systematic center of the philosophy of science was seen in a formal analysis of the logic of scientific systems of theory.
Since Fleck and Kuhn, the philosophy of science program has been expanded to include real-historical forms of scientific research and their social conditions. A number of further changes have expanded the scientific-theoretical area of ​​attention today to the procedures and instruments, the laboratory contexts, the visualization strategies, the social forms of organization, the subject fields, etc. of the various (formal, empirical or also hermeneutical) sciences.
From a historical and systematic perspective, the module aims to familiarize students with some fundamental positions and questions in the theory of science. Here, approaches from the history of science and the sociology of science are explicitly incorporated into the program


MA 3 forms of practical knowledge

From a historical and systematic perspective, the module aims to familiarize students with some theories of practical knowledge and self-determination that are fundamental to European philosophy. The aim is to understand how and why both the content and the forms of justification of the practical discourse have changed.

Practical knowledge consists of beliefs about how people should act and how they should be. The debates on this topic since ancient times have dealt with questions such as: How do we gain knowledge of what is good for us? How does the moral good relate to the good of a life as a whole? How can a conviction guiding action be justified? With what right can general validity claims be made for guiding principles? Who on such a question
We will quickly notice that they cannot be decided by referring to empirical facts. But what kind of objects does the sought-after knowledge relate to? And finally: does action necessarily follow knowledge or can one act contrary to what one thinks is best?


MA 4 Theory of narrative and non-discursive forms of knowledge

Human knowledge is not organized and represented exclusively in the form of propositionally structured, empirically verifiable systems of statements. In addition to non-propositional, non-discursive forms of representation such as images or diagrams, the narrative forms of representation in history, literature, religion and art are also to be considered forms of representation of real knowledge. Nonetheless, the validity of such knowledge in the case of historical narratives, for example, cannot or not easily be demonstrated by recourse to a so-called empirical database or, in the case of images, by criteria of logical-methodological well-formedness. In addition, in almost all known cultures there are forms of representation such as myths or religious traditions, the knowledge of which is controversial, but its relevance for the formation of human cultural identity cannot be ignored. Classical philosophy of science, which mostly had the model of the natural sciences in mind, hardly paid enough attention to such types of knowledge.
The module aims to familiarize students with the main types of narrative and non-discursive forms of knowledge and to discuss the validity status and reasons for such knowledge


MA 5 Historical Forms of Knowledge

In the history of philosophy and science, it is not just the content that changes, but above all the forms of knowledge. With them change the demands that knowledge must meet in order to be recognized as such at all; The criteria by which its epistemic and practical value is assessed change, the ways in which it is obtained and passed on, etc. The theory of science reflects this change insofar as it is made explicit as the theory of the history of science. The task of the historical forms of knowledge module, on the other hand, is to understand the change in forms of knowledge, its reasons and consequences when dealing with exemplary positions in the history of philosophy and science, and to acquire in-depth knowledge of relevant areas of the history of philosophy and science.


MA 6 Interpretation Course: Classical Texts of Philosophy, Science and the History of Ideas

Module MA6 supplements the text knowledge acquired in the previous course by carefully reading relevant texts from the history of philosophy, science and ideas. In it, the experiences and skills gained in dealing with historical texts are brought together and deepened in the course of study; the interpretation problems and controversies that arise when dealing with historical texts, including the relevant research literature, are exemplified.


MA 7 Technical Supplement

Forms of knowledge are trained in the most varied - scientific and non-scientific - areas; and they are not only thematized by philosophy, but also by other human science disciplines. Accordingly, there are two kinds of interdisciplinary relationships for the master's degree in "Philosophy of Forms of Knowledge": On the one hand, the content and forms of knowledge from other scientific disciplines are reflected in the philosophical courses. On the other hand, the module "subject complement" gives the students the opportunity to get to know the contribution of other human science disciplines to the thematization and reflection of forms of knowledge and to relate them to the contribution of philosophy.
Students who are not admitted to the "Philosophy of Knowledge Forms" master’s degree on the basis of a first degree in philosophy are given the opportunity to supplement their previous philosophical study components with regard to the requirements of the master’s degree and a specialization in it. Timely study advice is strongly recommended.

Study and examination achievements correspond to the regulations of the degree program from whose range of courses the subject supplement is selected.

Cooperating subject areas are:

  • Sociological theory and philosophy of the social sciences,
  • Ancient history, history of the Middle Ages
  • Biblical and systematic theology,
  • Middle and New Art History
  • Psychoanalysis / Psychoanalytical Psychology
  • Musicology

In exceptional cases, coursework and examinations from other subject areas can also be recognized.