Ludger Honnefelder

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Ludger Honnefelder (born March 25, 1936 in Cologne ) is a German philosopher and emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Bonn.

Scientific career

From 1955 Honnefelder studied philosophy, catholic theology and education in Bonn, Innsbruck and Bochum. In 1964 he was ordained and worked in the pastoral service of the Archdiocese of Cologne.

After a doctorate and habilitation in philosophy at the University of Bonn, he worked from 1972 to 1988 as a lecturer and then as a professor of philosophy at the theological faculty of the University of Trier and then at the seminar for Catholic theology and at the Institute for Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin . In 1988 he was appointed professor of philosophy at the University of Bonn . After his retirement in 2001, he held the newly created Guardini Professorship for Philosophy of Religion and Catholic Weltanschauung at the Theological Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin from 2005 to 2007 . From March 2009 to 2012 he was " Otto Warburg Senior Research Professor" at the Theological Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin.

From 1993 to 2007, Honnefelder was managing director of the Institute for Science and Ethics at the University of Bonn, which he co-founded . From 1999 to 2007, Honnefelder was also the managing director of the German Reference Center for Ethics in the Biosciences, which is the central institution of the university and the office of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences . From 1982 to 1991 he was part of the director of the Cusanuswerk Episcopal Study Fund . From 1995 to 2012 he headed the Albertus Magnus Institute in Bonn, which deals with the critical edition of the works of Albert the Great and their research.

Guest professorships have taken him to Saint Louis University in St. Louis (USA) and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in Porto Alegre (Brazil).


Honnefelder is a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the European Academy for Science and the Arts . From 1993 to 2012 he was a member of the German delegation in the Steering Committee for Bioethics of the Council of Europe . He was a member of the study commission “Law and Ethics of Modern Medicine” of the German Bundestag in the 14th electoral term. From 1991 to 2015 he was a member of the board of the Görres Society for the Care of Science . Since 1998 he has been a member of the Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics (PWGSE) of the All European Academies (ALLEA) and of the ethical-legal working group of the competence network stem cell research NRW.


Honnefelder has been an honorary doctor of the University of Innsbruck since 1999 ; He is the holder of the Palacky Gold Medal of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Franciscan Institute Medal 2007. In 2007 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. In 2016, Honnefelder received the Görres Society's ring of honor .

Research priorities

Honnefelder's research focuses on metaphysics , ethics (with special consideration of applied ethics) and anthropology as well as the history of philosophy in the Middle Ages and early modern times. Honnefelder is considered an outstanding expert on the thought of Duns Scotus .


  • Ens inquantum ens. The concept of being as such as an object of metaphysics according to the teaching of Johannes Duns Scotus, Münster: Aschendorff 1979, 2nd A. 1989.
  • Scientia transcendens. The formal determination of being and reality in the metaphysics of the Middle Ages and modern times (Duns Scotus - Suárez - Wolff - Kant - Peirce). Hamburg: Mine 1990.
  • Thomas von Aquin, Study Letter from the FernUniversität Hagen : Paradigms of Philosophizing in the Middle Ages 2, Hagen 1999.
  • La métaphysique comme science transcendentale entre le Moyen Âge et les Temps Modernes, Paris: Presses Universitaire de France 2002.
  • John Duns Scotus. Munich: Beck 2005. ISBN 3-406-51116-3
  • What should I do, who do I want to be? Reason and responsibility, conscience and guilt, Berlin: University Press 2007. ISBN 978-3-940432-05-6
  • Where do we come from? Origins of Modernism in Medieval Thinking, Berlin: University Press 2008. ISBN 978-3-940432-28-5
  • John Duns Scotus. Thinker on the threshold from medieval to modern thinking, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh 2011. ISBN 978-3-506-77229-9
  • Albertus Magnus and the cultural turnaround in the 13th century - perspectives on the epochal significance of the great philosopher and theologian, Münster: Aschendorf 2012. ISBN 978-3-402-11194-9
  • In the field of tension between ethics and religion, Berlin: University Press 2014. ISBN 978-3-86280-073-5
  • What is reality On the basic question of metaphysics, ed. by Isabelle Mandrella and Hannes Möhle, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöning 2016. ISBN 978-3-506-78491-9
  • As well as numerous contributions and editorships from the above research areas

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Change in the board of directors of IWE and DRZE
  2. The "Doctor Subtilis" of theology. Ludger Honnefelder in conversation with Katja Lückert. In: DLF , November 8, 2008, accessed July 28, 2918.