Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Practical Philosophy/Ethics

Jan Gertken

Dr. Jan Gertken


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


Office hours: Wednesday, 10-11:30h



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)

How Do Reasons Transmit to Non-Necessary Means?” (with Benjamin Kiesewetter), forthcoming in Australasian Journal of Philosophy. (online version)

Das Netzwerk 'Argumentieren in der Schule'. Ein Bericht” (with Anne Burkard, David Löwenstein and Laura Martena), Information Philosophie 2/2020, 100-105.

The Restrictions of Consequentialism”, forthcoming in: Seidel, C. (ed.) New Directions in Consequentialism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 136-155, 2019.

Prinzipienpluralismus im Philosophieunterricht” (with Anne Burkard), Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Philosophie und Ethik 2/2018, 97-107.

Rossian Moral Pluralism in the Philosophy Classroom” (with Anne Burkard), in: Journal of Didactics of Philosophy 1: 6-20, 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).

„Fiktionalität” (with Tilmann Köppe), in: Jannides, F., Lauer, G., Martínez, M., Winko, S. (ed.) Grenzen der Literatur. Zu Begriff und Phänomen des Literarischen (Revisionen, vol. 2), Berlin: de Gruyter, 228-266, 2009.

Talks (selection)

“Strukturierter philosophischer Dialog mit Gedankenexperimenten: Modellstunde und Reflexion” (with Tim Kraft), Workshop Lernen im Dialog – Möglichkeiten philosophischer Gespräche im Unterricht, University of Cologne /Zentrum für LehrerInnenbildung (27-28 April 2018)

“Gerichtete Pflichten und moralisch falsche Handlungen”, Berlin-Bern-Zürich-Workshop Ethische Theorie (13 April 2018)

“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)

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 January 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.

Recently Taught Courses

Should the numbers count?
Advanced Seminar Winter 2023/24

Introductory Seminar Winter 2023/24

Advanced Seminar Summer 2021

Essential Readings in Modern Ethics
Introductory Seminar Summer 2021

Unbelievable Errors
Advanced Seminar Winter 2020/21

Filial Duties
Introductory Seminar Winter 2020/21

Moral Rights
Advanced Seminar Summer 2020

Immanuel Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Moral
Introdoctury Seminar Summer 2020

The Moral Nexus
Advanced Seminar, Winter 2019/20

Two Treatises of Government
Introdoctury Seminar, Winter 2019/20

T. Ronnow Rasmussen: Personal Value
Advanced Seminar, Summer 2019

Introductory Seminar, Summer 2019

Advanced Seminar, Winter 2018/19

Should the numbers count?
Introductory Seminar, Winter 2018/19

Advanced Seminar, Summer 2018