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German-speaking philosopher

Thank you for this post that entails very important information and critique. I studied and worked in the German-speaking context as well (Austria and Germany), hence I know the context too. I believe you should contextualize the depiction of the focus of teaching at German universities. The universities I know do not concentrate only on the "the most important German philosophers”, but integrate the so-called analytic tradition (e.g. Muenster,Konstanz, HU Berlin, FU Berlin, Vienna, Graz). Moreover, there are universities which focus on the so-called analytic tradition only (e.g. Bochum II, Salzburg). Analytic philosophy in Germany has an independent organization (https://www.gap-im-netz.de/en/): their board only consists of distinguished German professors. This shows that analytic philosophy is very well embedded in the German context. I would argue that German-speaking universities focus on the male-dominated European-American tradition (and I completely agree with your critique of that). Hence, they lack real diversity (as so many departments in the European-American context do). It is also pretty common to teach in English and I have encountered no student who would not be willing to read or write in English. Some of my students at a German-speaking university even asked me, if they could write their seminar papers in English.

a philosopher

The whole thing sounds very paternalistic to me, as if one is still a student needing supervision until their habilitation. I'm not often one to defend the free market, but I must say that I find myself glad I'm mostly working within the US system where the only (semi) formal requirement is the PhD and after that schools and departments set their own procedures and compete for talent. There are many downsides to the fact that (humanities) research and universities in the US are funded mostly by tuition dollars and donors, but the tight structural restrictions of more regulated systems in Europe strike me as worse. It's interesting to hear your perspective and thoughts on how this stifles change and protects bias. (I assume my libertarian and conservative colleagues are rolling their eyes now.)


I'd like to add some information/a different perspective. (I'm a German graduate student.)

1) It seems to me that most of the PhD students in philosophy in Germany are not employed (as lecturers) at a university but have a scholarship from a foundation or a non-research job.

2) Many universities in Germany allow the graduates to use the title "Dr. des." after the dissertation has been defended but not yet been published.

3) The PhD thesis can be published digitally and free of charge to fulfill the publication requirement (although this means less reputation). If one wants to publish it via a publishing house, there are also grants which can help with that (e.g. VG WORT).

4) There are tenured jobs below the rank of "Full Professor", but they are rare.

5) The habilitation requirement has become less important in recent years and universities usually require only a qualification that is "equivalent to a habilitation", which does not even mean a large amount of publications.

6) A clarification: The "Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz" does not restrict the time one can work as a lecturer to "12 years maximum, before habilitation", but six years before the PhD and six years after the PhD. The timeframe is extended if one has a child/children (and also for other reasons).

Furthermore, I second the post by "German-speaking philosopher". I have the same impression.


Hi! I´m Yan from Argentina, and I found your interesting blog about Germany education about Philosophy, and I´m Impressioned, ´cause I´m student of Philosophy and I was thinking to finish my grade and come to Germany to work like professor, but I saw is very difficult, ´cause as you say, you need to have a doctorate to teach... And I think, If you need to study so many for a professor job, and maybe you won´t have It, is very distressing! And your ages pass very fast! I´m disappointed. With that, I don´t want to say that you only need a grade to teach, but think about this:
Grade + Master + Post-grade + Doctorated... How many years and time Is that? And If your are foreign more difficult too! I`m sad.

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