Otfried Höffe

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Otfried Höffe (born September 12, 1943 in Leobschütz [today: Głubczyce, Poland], Upper Silesia ) is a German philosopher who is best known for his work on ethics , Aristotle and Immanuel Kant .


Höffe studied philosophy , history , theology and sociology in Münster , Tübingen , Saarbrücken and Munich from 1964 to 1970 . In his dissertation from 1971 ( Practical Philosophy: The Model of Aristotle ) he showed that the concept of striving is fundamental to the ethics of Aristotle. In 1970 and 1971 he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University . In 1974 he completed his habilitation in Munich with the work strategies of humanity. On the ethics of public decision-making processes .

In 1976 he became a full professor of philosophy at the University of Duisburg . From 1978 to 1992 he held the chair for ethics and social philosophy and was director of the International Institute for Social Philosophy and Politics in Friborg . At the same time he had a teaching position for legal philosophy at the law faculty of the University of Friborg from 1978 to 1990 . With a teaching position for social ethics , he taught at the ETH Zurich from 1986 to 1998 . From 1992 until his retirement in September 2011, he read as a professor of philosophy at the University of Tübingen , where he founded the research center for political philosophy in 1994 and became a co-opted member of the law faculty. In 2002 he received the Bavarian Literature Prize (Karl Vossler Prize) for scientific representations of literary rank and since the same year has also been a permanent visiting professor for legal philosophy at the University of St. Gallen .

Höffe is the author of numerous books, primarily on ethics, legal, political and economic philosophy as well as Kant and Aristotle and is a full member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina . His book on Political Justice has been translated into ten languages. Höffe dealt intensively with John Rawls , whose theory of justice he made known in Germany from the 1970s. From June 1, 2009 to the end of 2015, he was President of the National Ethics Commission in the field of human medicine in Switzerland.

In July 2010, Höffe canceled his participation in the World Philosophy Day, which was awarded to the Islamic Republic of Iran by UNESCO , because after the presidency had been given to Haddad-Adel , it was feared that the event planned for November in Tehran would become a “propaganda event “By President Mahmoud Ahmadineschād .

In April 2020, Höffe became a member of the 12-person “Corona Expert Council” convened by Prime Minister Armin Laschet . The committee of twelve renowned experts from different disciplines is to work with the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia to develop strategies for the time after the Corona crisis .

Otfried Höffe lives in Tübingen .



  • Practical philosophy, the Aristotle model . 3. Edition. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-05-004395-1 .
  • Even a people of devils needs the state: philosophical attempts at legal and State ethics . Reclam, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-15-008507-1 .
  • Political Justice: Foundation of a Critical Philosophy of Law and State . 4th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​2003, ISBN 3-518-28400-2 .
  • Categorical legal principles: a counterpoint to modernity . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1995, ISBN 3-518-28770-2 .
  • Morality as the price of modernity: an experiment on science, technology and the environment . 4th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2000, ISBN 3-518-28646-3 .
  • Reason and Law: Building Blocks for an Intercultural Legal Discourse . 2nd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1998, ISBN 3-518-28870-9 .
  • Is there an intercultural criminal law ?: a philosophical attempt . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-518-28996-9 .
  • Democracy in the age of globalization . C. H. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-47599-X .
  • “Royal Peoples”: on Kant's cosmopolitan theory of law and peace . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2001, ISBN 3-518-29119-X .
  • Medicine without ethics? 2nd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-518-12245-2 .
  • Justice. A philosophical introduction. 4th revised edition. C. H. Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-44768-6
  • Little history of philosophy . C. H. Beck, Munich 2001, 2nd edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57385-9 . [Review: Ursula Pia Jauch in NZZ , January 31, 2002]
  • Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. The foundation of modern philosophy. 2nd Edition. C. H. Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50919-3 .
  • Economic citizen, citizen, world citizen. Political Ethics in the Age of Globalization. C. H. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-52208-4 .
  • Aristotle. 4th, revised edition. Beck'sche Reihe Denker, Munich 2014, ISBN 3-406-54125-9 .
  • Immanuel Kant. 7th, revised edition. Beck's series of thinkers, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-54762-1 .
  • Art of living and morals or does virtue make you happy? C. H. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-55745-3 .
  • Is democracy sustainable? About modern politics . C. H. Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58717-7 .
  • Thomas Hobbes . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60021-0 .
  • Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: A Philosophy of Freedom. C. H. Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63934-0
  • Ethics . An introduction. CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-64630-0 .
  • The power of morality in the 21st century . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-66001-6 .
  • Critique of Freedom: The Basic Problem of Modernity . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-406-67503-4 .
  • The fine art of aging. Small philosophy of the good life . CH Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-406-72747-4 .




Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Winner of the Karl Vossler Prize ( Memento from June 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art
  2. Member entry of Otfried Höffe (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on July 15, 2016.
  3. Cf. O. Höffe (Ed.): About John Rawls' theory of justice . Frankfurt a. M. 1977. On the relationship between Rawls and Höffe cf. also O. Höffe: The pluralist. He thought everything out: the philosopher John Rawls is turning eighty . In: FAZ , February 21, 2001. O. Höffe: Whoever paid the blood toll is therefore not yet justified. Why a war to expand world power is not part of self-defense: John Rawls' Oxford lecture on international law . In: FAZ , April 10, 2003. O. Höffe: What else I would have to say. John Rawls' theory of justice in its final form . In: FAZ , May 23, 2003
  4. National ethics committee in the field of human medicine: Professor Höffe appointed President , press release General Secretariat FDHA , Federal Office of Public Health , Bern, May 28, 2009
  5. Höffe becomes president - Catholic theologian replaces geneticist, philosophy “star” for the ethics committee , NZZ May 29, 2009
  6. Otfried Höffe> Curriculum Vitae , University of Tübingen (uni-tuebingen.de)
  7. Nadine Jürgensen: “There is no right to a healthy child”. www.nzz.ch, January 5, 2016, accessed on September 15, 2017 .
  8. Otfried Höffe: World Philosophy Day: "I will not speak in Tehran" . In: FAZ , July 16, 2010.
  9. Prime Minister Armin Laschet appoints "Expert Council Corona" | The state portal Wir in NRW. April 1, 2020, accessed May 18, 2020 .
  10. Review in Information Philosophie , Issue 4/2019, pp. 101-105.