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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Practical Philosophy/Ethics

Jan Gertken

Dr. Jan Gertken

E-mail: Jan.Gertken@philosophie.hu-berlin.de

Office: Unter den Linden 6, room 3013
Phone: +49 30 2093-2850

Dr. Jan Gertken  is currently a member of the research group “Relational Normativity and Promissory Obligation” (Topoi Exzellenzcluster 264, Berlin).

Office hours: thursdays 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
The office hours on May 17th  and 24th are cancelled. Possible alternative dates are May 16th and May 23th, from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (please register in advance via email).

CV (.pdf)


Research Interests

Normative Ethics, Metaethics, Rationality and Reasons


M.A. in Philosophy and German Language & Literature (University of Göttingen, 2006), PhD in philosophy (Humboldt-University of Berlin, 2012). Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at Humboldt University from 11/2007 till 03/2013 and since 11/2013.

Publications (selection)

The Restrictions of Consequentialism”, forthcoming in: Seidel, C. (ed.) New Directions in Consequentialism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rossian Moral Pluralism in the Philosophy Classroom” (with Anne Burkard), forthcoming in: Journal of Didactics of Philosophy 1 (2017).

The Right and the Wrong Kind of Reasons” (with Benjamin Kiesewetter), Philosophy Compass 12 (5) (2017) (PDF)

“Aggregation für Nonkonsequentialisten”, Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 70 (2): 269-274, 2016.

“Mixed Feelings About Mixed Solutions”, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1): 56-69, 2016.

“Prinzipien in der Ethik – Précis” and “Repliken”, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 69 (1): p. 73-77 & 91-95, 2015.

Prinzipien in der Ethik, Münster: Mentis (2014).

Talks (selection)

“Haben Überforderungseinwände ein eigenständiges Gewicht?” (Workshop Moralische Überforderung, 21–22 January 2017, University of Münster).

The Restrictions of Consequentialism, Lund University (27 October 2016, handout)

The Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem: Its Scope and Significance, Lund University (26 October 2016, handout)

How the Numbers Count, Lund University (25 October 2016, handout)

Do Wrong-Making Features Ground an Act’s Wrongness?, Zurich Early-Career Postdoc Workshop in Theoretical Philosophy, University of Zürich (1 July 2016)

Grounding und die Relation des Falschmachens, Frankfurt Metaethik Workshop, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (27 May 2016)

Ist Einheit in der Vielfalt von Werten möglich?,  Workshop Wertontologie und Glück, University of Münster (3–4 March 2016)

“Is There a Liberal Principle of Instrumental Transmission?” (with Benjamin Kiesewetter), 9th international conference of the German Society for Analytical Philosophy (GAP), University of Osnabrück (15 September 2015); European Normativity Network Conference, Humboldt University of Berlin (20 November 2015, handout)

“Interpersonal Aggregation and the Separateness of Persons”, Department of Philosophy, University of Bayreuth (27.01.2015)

“What’s Wrong With the Wrong Kind of Reasons?” (with Benjamin Kiesewetter), Conference “The Wrong Kind of Reasons”, Humboldt University of Berlin (22 September 2014, handout)

“The Because Constraint and its Metaethical Implications”, Workshop Normativity and Meaning, Saarland University, Saarbrücken (14.-16. May 2014)

“Mixed Feelings about the Mixed Solution”, Workshop The Dimensions of Consequentialism, University of Konstanz (16.-17. November 2013)

“Relative Value and Consequentialist Accounts of Restrictions”, Tagung Consequentialism: New Directions, New Problems?, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (23.-25. September 2013)

Current Projects

Aggregation, Fairness and the Numbers Problem

The aim of this project is to investigate whether, as Taurek famously put it, “the numbers count”, i.e. whether, and in what form, it is of moral importance how many people are affected by one’s decisions in trade-off situations. Working within a broadly Rossian deontological framework, my primary aim is to develop a coherent outlook integrating both requirements of fairness and considerations more usually associated with consequentialist arguments in favour of saving the greater number.

On the Role of Principles in Ethics
(PhD project, completed 11/2012, published in 2014 by Mentis, Münster)

Whereas many believe that principles play a crucial role for moral thinking, particularists argue that, on the contrary, we should not appeal to moral principles in judging and deciding what to do. This project’s goals are twofold: First, it aims at a better understanding of the systematic import and place of the particularist challenge. Second, it evaluates central arguments both in favour and against particularist positions. I argue that the debate about moral particularism should, to a large extent, be conceived as a substantial first order discussion in normative ethics, that the most radical form of particularism is unconvincing, and that both defence and criticism of principles are subject to important boundaries imposed by the phenomenon of moral indeterminacy.

Recently Taught Courses

The Principle of Double Effect
Advanced Seminar, WS 2015/16

Introductory Seminar, WS 2015/16

Reasons and Values
Advanced Seminar, SS 2015

Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State and Utopia
Introductory Seminar, SS 2015

Roger Crisp: Reasons and the Good
Advanced Seminar, WS 2014/15

Is Self-Defence Morally Permissible?
Advanced Seminar, SS 2014

Humanitarian Interventions
Introductory Seminar, SS 2014

Advanced Seminar, WS 2013/14

Dignity and Instrumentalisation
Introductory Seminar, WS 2012/13

Derek Parfit: On What Matters
Advanced Seminar, with Benjamin Kiesewetter, WS 2012/13

Should the Numbers Count?
Introductory Seminar, SS 2012