Prof. Dr. Frank Hofmann

Frank Hofmann

Full professor in Philosophy: systematic Philosophy

Research Topics Consciousness, Knowledge, Laws of nature, Ontology, Science
Faculty or Centre Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Department Department of Humanities
Postal Address Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette
Campus Office MSH, E02 25-430
Telephone (+352) 46 66 44 6639

Research areas

  • Central fields of theoretical philosophy: epistemology, ontology/metaphysics, philosophy of language and mind
  • Rationality and reasons (both in the theoretical and the practical domain)
  • Meta-ethics

Current projects


RREXAM - Rational Reflection Examined
FNR OPEN project
Yannick Kohl (PhD), July 2019 - June 2023
The research project is located at the heart of theoretical philosophy. Its main objective is to determine the powers and limitations of rational reflection (broadly understood, i.e., as comprising immediate self-knowledge, critical reasonsing, and the like).


ENCODE - Epistemic Normativity - Configuring the Debate
FNR Intermobility project,
together with Dr. Christian Piller (University of York, UK), Oct. 2017 - March 2018

Epistemology is changing. Epistemologists increasingly look beyond the nature of knowledge (and the nature of other epistemological notions) and discuss the value of knowledge (and how the value of what is picked out by other epistemological notions may contribute to it). Many epistemologists recognise parallels between their discipline and ethics and more and more ethical vocabulary is introduced in the debate. There are deontological theories of justification; there are debates about epistemic consequentialism, epistemic responsibility and doxastic voluntarism; virtue epistemology has become central to epistemological theorising. In a word, epistemology has moved ever closer to ethics. An important aspect of this development is that philosophy becomes increasingly concerned with whether there is and if so, what would account for epistemic normativity.

The project ENCODE has the following main aims

To provide an original methodological framework for debates about epistemic normativity inspired and informed by insights from practical philosophy

To distinguish and analyse the main positions in this debate according to this framework

To situate the debate about epistemic normativity in a broader philosophical context by showing how it relates to and influences other philosophical debates


FRAP - the Freedom, Rationality, and Autonomy Project
in cooperation with Postdoc Christian Loew, Institute of Philosophy, UL (July 2016 - June 2018)
We investigate how human free will fits into the natural world. FRAP aims to develop an account of how freedom is attainable even in a deterministic world. We act freely when our actions are governed by the autonomous exercise of rational capacities. The project will be closely informed by how the medical sciences assess properly working mental capacities, and its results will bear on issues of responsibility.


BELUX - colloquia in contemporary epistemology: in cooperation with Prof. Chris Kelp, KU Leuven.
BELUX2 - Normative epistemic reasons, July 9-10, 2014, Luxembourg
BELUX4 - Norm(s) of belief, April 24-25, 2015, Luxembourg
BELUX6 - Perception and Evidence, June 10-11, 2016, Luxembourg


PhD supervision:
Thomas Durlacher, "Data-intensive History and Social Science. A Philosophical Study" (member of the FNR funded Doctoral Training Unit "Digital History and Hermeneutics")
Hannes Fraissler, "How Language Shapes the Mind"
Christopher Lamothe, "A Defense of Moral Revisionism"
Andy Orlando, "Epistemic Nonconceptualism. Nonconceptual content and the justification of perceptual beliefs" (FNR funded PhD project, AFR)
Yannick Kohl, dissertation with the FNR-funded research projct "RREXAM - Rational Reflection Re-examined" (OPEN Programme)

Other research topics:

Virtue epistemology and varieties of reliabilism for epistemic justification and knowledge

Normativity of belief and action, believing and acting for reasons

The metaethics of epistemic and moral normativity

Representationalism about phenomenal consciousness and self-consciousness

Essentialism for laws of nature and fundamental properties (nomological structuralism)

Conceptual vs. non-conceptual representation, teleosemantics

Introspective self-knowledge and reflection


Research activities

  • I am a member of the international network ENN ("European Normativity Network").
  • I am a member of the research group EXRE ("Experience and Reason"), based at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
    Our last conference, "The normative significance of consciousness", took place in Dez. 2011 at FribourgI .
  • I am member of the bureau of the SOPHA ("Société de Philosophie Analytique").
  • I have cooperated with the cognitive scientist Hanspeter Mallot (faculty of biology, University of Tübingen, Germany).
    We worked on the topic of spatial cognition and self-representation. Our goal was to understand how self-representation could originate from spatial cognition (instead of social cognition or language).
    We held a workshop on these topics, in Jan. 2012, at the University of Luxembourg.

Last updated on: 07 Feb 2020

Professional career

  • since 11/2010  Professor for systematic philosophy, University of Luxembourg
  • 2007 – 2008  Temporary professorship at the University of Magdeburg, Germany (winter term 2007/2008)
  • 2006 – 2010   Assistant professor (with Prof. Manfred Frank) at the University of Tübingen
  • 2002 – 2005  Research project on the metaphysics of facts, funded by the Fritz Thyssen   Stiftung, Germany
  • 1998 – 2001   Scientific assistant (with Prof. Manfred Frank) at the University of Tübingen
  • 1996 – 1997  Scientific assistant (with Prof. Manfred Frank) at the University of Tübingen

Academic degrees

  • 2007  Habilitation, Privatdozent, at the University of Tübingen, Germany / Habilitation thesis “Die Metaphysik der Tatsachen” (mentis, Paderborn)
  • 2001  PhD in philosophy at the University of Tübingen, Germany / Dissertation thesis “Natur und Begriff des Bewußtseins” (mentis, Paderborn)
  • 1996  Master in philosophy (Magister) at the University of Tübingen, Germany
  • 1995  Diploma in physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany


  • 1996 – 2001  philosophy PhD studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany
  • 1992 – 1996  philosophy (Magister) at the University of Tübingen, Germany
  • 1991 – 1992   physics and philosophy at the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
  • 1988 – 1995   physics (diploma) at the University of Tübingen, Germany

Last updated on: 25 Mar 2019


„Die Metaphysik der Tatsachen“, mentis, Paderborn, 2008.

“Natur und Begriff des Bewußtseins”, mentis, Paderborn, 2002.


Edited books

“Die Anatomie der Subjektivität”, together with Th. Grundmann et al., Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M., 2005.


 Articles (selection)

"Knowledge norms of belief and belief formation: when the time is ripe to actualize one's epistemic potential", Ratio 34:4, 2021, 277-85.

"Two norms of intention: a vindication of Williamson's knowledge-action analogy", Acta Analytica, 2021, (online first, DOI 10.1007/s12136-021-00465-1).

"Is evidence normative?" Philosophia, 2020 (published online 11 July 2020).

"Krankheit in Denkfiguren. Eine Untersuchung in normativer Hinsicht", in: A. Bendheim, J. Pavlik (Hg.), Figurationen von Krankheiten, Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg, 2019, 19-27.

"Discussion Note on The Rationality of Perception", co-authored with Andy Orlando, Grazer Philosophische Studien 96:2, 2019, 265-27.

"Norm reasons and evidentialism", co-authored with Christian Piller, Analysis 79:2, 2019, 202-6.

"E=K and nonepistemic perception", Logos & Episteme Vol. IX:3, Sept. 2018, 307-31.

"Evolution and ethics: no Streetian debunking of moral realism", Croatian Journal of Philosophy 18:3, 2018, 417-32.

"How to know one's experiences transparently", Philosophical Studies, Online First 21 February 2018.

"Potentialities in the philosophy of mind", forthcoming, in: Handbook of Potentiality, edited by K. Engelhard, M. Quante, Springer, 2018.

"Could robots be phenomenally conscious?", Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17:3, 2018, 579-90 (Online First 28 July 2017,

"Fakten, Tatsachen und Sachverhalte", in: Schrenk, M. (Hg.), Handbuch Metaphysik, Metzler, 2017, 146-51.

"Non-conceptual knowledge", Philosophical Issues 24, 2014, 183-207.

"Gettier for justification", Episteme 11:3, 2014, 305-318. Author's original here:


"The structuring causes of behavior: Has Dretske saved mental causation?", Acta Analytica 29:3, 2014, 267-284. Co-author: Peter Schulte, University of Bielefeld, Germany. Online first:

"Seeing oneself through the eyes of others. Beckermann on self-consciousness", Philosophia Naturalis 50:1 (2013), 25-43 (co-author: F. Poehlmann).

"Was ist Analytische Philosophie?", Protosociology Oct. 2013.

"Epistemic virtue and values", in: T. Henning, D. Schweikard (eds.), Knowledge, Virtue, and Action, Blackwell, Oxford, 2013, 119-139.

"How Gettier helps to understand justification", GAP8 proceedings (2013). The paper can be found here:

"Three kinds of reliabilism", Philosophical Explorations, 16:1 (2013), 59-80. To get a copy click here:

"Intuitions, concepts, and imagination“, Philosophical Psychology 23:4 (2010), 529-546.

"Realismus, robuste Wahrheit und kognitive Nötigung“, in: M. Grajner, A. Rami (Hg.), Wahrheit, Bedeutung, Existenz, ontos-Verlag, Frankfurt/M., 2010, 41-56.

“Introspective self-knowledge of experience and evidence”, Erkenntnis 71, 1 (2009)

"Gründe und Werte: ein Vergleich von theoretischer und praktischer Rationalität“, in: G. Schönrich (Hg.), Wissen und Werte, mentis Verlag, Paderborn, 2009.

“An alternative to endurantism and perdurantism: doing without occupants”, in: L. Honnefelder, E. Runggaldier, B. Schick, (Hg.), Unity and Time in Metaphysics, de Gruyter, 2009.

"Willensfreiheit und der Preis für den Kompatibilismus“, in: P. Spät (Hg.), Zur Zukunft der Philosophie des Geistes, mentis, Paderborn, 2008.

“In defence of metaphysical analyticity” (co-author: J. Horvath, Cologne), Ratio XXI, 3, (2008).

“Causal powers, realization, and mental causation”, Erkenntnis 67, 2 (2007).

"Wahrheit und Wissen. Einige Überlegungen zur epistemischen Normativität“, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 61, 2, (2007), 1-28.

"Ernst Tugendhat, Egozentrizität und Mystik “, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 61, 1 (2007), 123-128.

“Immediate self-knowledge and avowal”, Grazer Philosophische Studien 70 (2005), 193-213.

"Über die Natur von Tatsachen“, Philosophia Naturalis 42 (2005), 313-340.

"Substrate, Substanzen und Individualität“, in: K. Trettin (Hg.), Substanz, Klostermann, Frankfurt/M., 2005.

"Ist introspektive Selbstkenntnis evidentiell?“, in: A. Newen (Hg.), Selbstwissen, privilegierter Zugang und die Autorität der ersten Person, mentis, Paderborn, 2005.

"Bewusstsein und introspektive Selbstkenntnis“, in: Th. Grundmann et al. (Hg.), Anatomie der Subjektivität, Frankfurt/M., 2005.

"Truthmaking, recombination, and facts ontology", Philosophical Studies 128 (2006), 409-440.

"Epistemic means and ends: in defense of some Sartwellian insights", Synthese 146 (2005), 357-369.

"Temporally localised facts and the problem of intrinsic change", Ratio XVIII (2005), 39-47.

"Why epistemic contextualism does not provide an adequate account of knowledge”, Erkenntnis 61 (2004), 375-382.

Substrate, Metaphysica 5 (2004) 35-62.

"Kripkes and Chalmers' Argumente gegen den Materialismus", Philosophia Naturalis 40: 1 (2003), 55-81.

"Die Rolle des Wissens und des Wissensbegriffs in der Erkenntnistheorie", Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 56:1 (2002), 125-131.

"Können wir uns auf die Wahrnehmung verlassen?", in: Th. Grundmann (Hg.),Erkenntnistheorie. Positionen zwischen Tradition und Gegenwart, mentis, Paderborn, 2001, 225-245.

"The reference of de re representations", Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (2001), 83-101.

 Online papers, submitted papers

  •  "Perception: perspectival content and perceptual achievement“, manuscript, Tuebingen, 2003.Causperc
  • "Externalism and memory: don't forget it": this is an earlier piece of mine (unpublished, 1995) that has been mentioned in a discussion on externalism, self-knowledge, and memory (lead by Peter Ludlow and others).


Upcoming talk at the workshop "Free will and Laws of Nature" at Cologne, 1-2 March 2018, "Free will does require an ability to do otherwise"

Talk at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Luzern, CH, 14 Nov 2017: "Was ist gutes Schließen?"

Talk at the ECAP Congress 2017, Munich, 21-28 August, "In defense of the reasons account of reasoning"

Talk at the Third SaarLux Conference on Reasons and Rationality: Jonathan Dancy on Reasons and Reasoning, 6-8 July 2017.

Talk at the FADO Workshop, "Free Will And the Ability to Do Otherwise" (FRAP project), co-organized with Christian Loew, 16-17 June 2017.

Talk at the workshop "Teleosemantic Perspectives on Perception", University of Bielefeld, organized by Peter Schulte, 7-8 October 2016: "The rational role of perception"

Talk at the workshop "Tagung zur sozialen Erkenntnistheorie", University of Cologne, organized by Thomas Grundmann, 24-26 June 2016: "Das Zeugnis anderer und Gründe"

Talk at the workshop "Perception and Evidence", University of Luxembourg, organized by Andy Orlando and myself, 10-11 June 2016: "Explaining perceptual knowledge"

Talk at the conference "The Normativity of Attitudes" - co-organized by the Department of Philosophy of the University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, and the Institute of Philosophy, University of Luxembourg, 3-5 Dec. 2015.

Talk at the Leuven Epistemology Conference 2015 on "Epistemic Norms" at the KU Leuven, organized by Chris Kelp, 9-11 Nov. 2015.

Talk at the workshop "Reasons, explanations and rational accountability" at the University of Fribourg, CH, 6-7 Nov. 2015.

Talk at the GAP9 congress at Osnabrück, 16 Sept. 2015, on "Intentionalism and Disjunctivism about perceptual experience".

Talk at a workshop on Quassim Cassam's recent work on self-knowledge, University of Cologne, organized by Thomas Grundmann, 4-5 July, 2015: "On the value of self-knowledge: phenomenal self-knowledge and existential self-knowledge".

Talk at the Colloquium of Practical Philosophy, University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, "Evolution and Ethics: against the Darwinian Dilemma for Moral Realism", 1 February, 2015.

Talk at the Philosophy Department of the Unversity of Bochum, "Intentionalism and Disjunctivism about Perception", 8 January, 2015.

Talk at the international conference "The Epistemology of Perception" at the KU Leuven, 25-26 Sept. 2014: "Perceptual justification and non-conceptual perception".

Talk at the workshop "Normative epistemic reasons" at the University of Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2014: "On explaining normative epistemic reasons".

Talk at the workshop "Neue Perspektiven der epistemischen Rechtfertigung" at the University of Dresden, 18-19 Jan. 2013, on the distinction between apriori and aposteriori justification.

Talk at the workshop "New work on concepts" at the University of Luxembourg, 23-24 Nov. 2012: "Representation of sameness and identity".

Talk at the workshop "Structuralism about fundamental reality and natural modality" at the University of Luxembourg, 26-27 Oct. 2012: "Dispositions, qualities, and structures".

Talk at the congress of the GAP ("Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie"), GAP8, Sept. 17-20, 2012, Konstanz, Germany.
Here is an abstract:

Talk at the ESPP conference at London, Aug. 28-31, 2012: "The generality constraint and the nature of concepts". Here are the slides:

Talk at the international conference Intuition and evidence - naturalistic or antinaturalistic? at Nancy, June 12 - 14, 2012: "On the epistemic role of experience". This conference was co-organized by the Université de Lorraine, the University of Saarbruecken, and the University of Luxembourg.

Talk at the SOPHA congress, May 4-6, 2012, Paris: "The generality constraint - vertical, not horizontal".

Talk the workshop "Teleosemantics Today", Febr. 16-18, 2012, University of Erlangen, Germany.
Here are the slides:

Talk at the workshop "Self-representation and spatial cognition", Jan. 18-19, 2012, at the University of Luxembourg.
Here are the slides:

Last updated on: 08 Nov 2021