Professor Fabian Freyenhagen

School of Philosophy and Art History
Professor Fabian Freyenhagen
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872713

  • Location

    5B.113, Colchester Campus



Fabian Freyenhagen read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Exeter College, Oxford, and then completed a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of Adorno’s Practical Philosophy (CUP 2013) and papers in journals such as Kantian Review, Hegel Bulletin, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, and Politics, Philosophy & Economics as well as chapters in edited collections, such as The Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology or The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School. Main Interests: Frankfurt School (especially Adorno); Ethics and Philosophy of Action; Social and Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Psychiatry; and re-activating the interdisciplinary research programme of the early Frankfurt School, such as projects at the intersection of philosophy, public health, politics, psychiatry, and sociology. Current research: social pathology (can society be ill or make us ill?), with a particular focus on mental distress and its social conditions; reason and language in the early Frankfurt School (and possible parallels to the works of the later Wittgenstein); acting irrespective or without hope; and ethics after Auschwitz. Fabian is a member of the Human Rights Centre and also teaches for the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre.


  • BA Oxford

  • PhD Sheffield


University of Essex

  • Head of School, SPAH, University of Essex (1/8/2014 - 31/7/2017)

  • PGT Director (Philosophy), SPAH, University of Essex (1/10/2019 - present)

  • Athena Swan lead, SPAH, University of Essex (1/8/2018 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Theory, history and practice of autonomy

Open to supervise

Frankfurt School (especially Adorno)

Open to supervise

Ethics (particularly Kants and Kantian ethics)

Open to supervise

Political Philosophy

Open to supervise

Current research

Critical Theory and the notion of social pathology;

Autonomy and its (social) conditions;

Ethics after Auschwitz

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (CS101)

  • The World Transformed: The Enlightenment and Its Critics (CS111)

  • The World Transformed: The Enlightenment and Its Critics (CS112)

  • The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment (CS201)

  • Introduction to Ethics (PY110)

  • Introduction to Philosophy (PY111)

  • The Frankfurt School (PY952)

Previous supervision

Ricardo Samaniego De La Fuente
Ricardo Samaniego De La Fuente
Thesis title: The Persistence of Resistance and the Emancipatory Power of the Aesthetic: On Negt and Kluge’S Critical Theory
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 19/1/2021
Maite Rodriguez
Maite Rodriguez
Thesis title: Limiting Heteronomy: An Account of Autonomy to Deal with Oppression
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 6/1/2021
Jaakko-Ilkka Nevasto
Jaakko-Ilkka Nevasto
Thesis title: The Concept of Need in the Thought of Theodor Adorno
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 1/11/2019
Stanislava Georgieva Dikova
Stanislava Georgieva Dikova
Thesis title: Autonomy and Agency in Virginia Woolf's Writing
Degree subject: Literature
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 10/6/2019
Thomas William Whyman
Thomas William Whyman
Thesis title: Freedom and Nature in Mcdowell and Adorno
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 12/1/2016
Daniel Rosenhaft Swain
Daniel Rosenhaft Swain
Thesis title: 'None So Fit to Break the Chains' - Marx's Ethics of Self-Emancipation
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/2/2015
Vivienne Louise Ashley
Vivienne Louise Ashley
Thesis title: Great Expectations: Autonomy, Responsibility and Social Welfare Entitlement
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 12/8/2014
Vivienne Louise Ashley
Vivienne Louise Ashley
Thesis title: Autonomy and Social Welfare Policies: A Case Study of Housing and Responsibility
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Master of Arts (by Dissertation)
Awarded date: 22/4/2010


Journal articles (35)

Freyenhagen, F., The linguistic turn in the early Frankfurt School: Horkheimer and Adorno. Journal of the History of Philosophy

Freyenhagen, F., (2022). Book Review of "The Shadow of God: Kant, Hegel, and the Passage from Heaven to History". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Freyenhagen, F., (2021). Kein scharfsinniger Unsinn, aber auch nicht einfach Unsinn. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 69 (2), 331-337

Freyenhagen, F., (2021). Normality Proper to the Time is Sickness. Krisis | Journal for Contemporary Philosophy. 41 (2), 87-88

Freyenhagen, F., (2020). Acting irrespective of hope. Kantian Review. 25 (4), 605-630

Curk, P., Gurbai, S. and Freyenhagen, F., (2020). Removing Compliance: Interpersonal and Social Factors Affecting Insight Assessments. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 11, 560039-

Freyenhagen, F., (2019). Dogmatischer Dogmatismusvorwurf: Eine Replik auf Stefan Müller-Doohm und Roman Yos [‘Dogmatic Allegation of Dogmatism: A Reply to Stefan Müller-Doohm and Roman Yos’]. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 67 (1), 42-58

Freyenhagen, F., (2019). Characterising social pathologies: an analytic grid. Studies in Social and Political Thought. 28, 15-20

Owen, G., Freyenhagen, F. and Martin, WM., (2018). Assessing Decision-Making Capacity after Brain Injury: A Phenomenological Approach. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. 25 (1), 1-19

Owen, G., Freyenhagen, F. and Martin, WM., (2018). Authenticity, Insight and Impaired Decision-Making Capacity in Acquired Brain Injury. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. 25 (1), 29-32

Freyenhagen, F., (2018). Reply to Pickford. Critique

Owen, GS., Freyenhagen, F., Martin, W. and David, AS., (2017). Clinical assessment of decision-making capacity in acquired brain injury with personality change. NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILITATION. 27 (1), 133-148

Freyenhagen, F., (2017). Autonomy's Substance. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 34 (1), 114-129

Freyenhagen, F., (2017). What is Orthodox Critical Theory?. World Picture. 12 (3), 456-469

Freyenhagen, F., (2017). A whole lot of misery: Adorno's negative Aristotelianism—Replies to Allen, Celikates, and O'Connor. European Journal of Philosophy. 25 (3), 861-874

Freyenhagen, F., (2016). Was ist orthodoxe Kritische Theorie?. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 65 (3), 456-469

Freyenhagen, F., (2016). Reply to Skirke

Owen, GS., Freyenhagen, F., Hotopf, M. and Martin, W., (2015). Temporal inabilities and decision-making capacity in depression. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. 14 (1), 163-182

Freyenhagen, F., (2015). Honneth on Social Pathologies: A Critique. Critical Horizons. 16 (2), 131-152

Freyenhagen, F., (2014). Adorno’s politics: Theory and praxis in Germany’s 1960s. Philosophy and Social Criticism. 40 (9), 867-893

Freyenhagen, F., (2013). XIII-Ethical (Self-)Critique. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. 113 (3pt3), 253-268

Freyenhagen, F. and O'Shea, T., (2013). Hidden substance: mental disorder as a challenge to normatively neutral accounts of autonomy. International Journal of Law in Context. 9 (01), 53-70

Freyenhagen, F., (2013). Is Making Movies after Auschwitz 'Barbaric'? Lanzmann's Shoah as an Adornian Film. The Holocaust in History and Memory. 6

Martin, W., Freyenhagen, F., Hall, E., O'Shea, T., Szerletics, A. and Ashley, V., (2012). An unblinkered view of best interests. BMJ. 345 (dec05), creators-Martin=3AWayne=3A=3A

Freyenhagen, F., (2011). Taking reasonable pluralism seriously: an internal critique of political liberalism. Politics, Philosophy & Economics. 10 (3), 323-342

Freyenhagen, F., (2011). Adorno's Ethics Without the Ineffable. Telos. 2011 (155), 127-149

Freyenhagen, F., (2011). Empty, Useless, and Dangerous? Recent Kantian Replies to the Empty Formalism Objection. Hegel Bulletin. 63/64 (1-2), 163-186

Freyenhagen, F. and Schaub, J., (2010). Hat hier jemand gesagt, der Kaiser sei nackt? Eine Verteidigung der Geussschen Kritik an Rawls? idealtheoretischem Ansatz [?Did Somebody Just Say the Emperor is Naked? In Defence of Geuss's Objections to Rawls's Ideal-Theoretical Approach?]. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. 58 (3), 457-477

Freyenhagen, F., (2009). Personal autonomy and mental capacity. Psychiatry. 8 (12), 465-467

Owen, GS., Freyenhagen, F., Richardson, G. and Hotopf, M., (2009). Mental Capacity and Decisional Autonomy: An Interdisciplinary Challenge. Inquiry. 52 (1), 79-107

Freyenhagen, F., (2008). Reasoning Takes Time: On Allison and the Timelessness of the Intelligible Self. Kantian Review. 13 (02), 67-84

Freyenhagen, F., (2008). Book Review: History and Freedom: Lectures 1964—1965. By Theodor W. Adorno. Edited by R. Tiedemann. Translated by R. Livingstone. Cambridge: Polity. Pp. 272. £18.99. Journal of European Studies. 38 (1), 93-94

Freyenhagen, F., (2006). Adorno’s negative dialectics of freedom. Philosophy and Social Criticism. 32 (2), 429-440

Freyenhagen, F., (2004). Kant and modern political philosophy. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES. 12 (1), 100-103

Freyenhagen, F., (2004). Kant and liberal internationalism: Sovereignty, justice, and global reform. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES. 12 (1), 100-103

Books (4)

Freyenhagen, F., (2013). Adorno's Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. 9781107543027

(2012). Introduction: The Habermas–Rawls Dispute— Analysis and Reevaluation. Routledge. 9780415876865

Finlayson, JG. and Freyenhagen, F., (2010). Habermas and Rawls: Disputing the Political. Routledge. 978-0-415-87686-5

(2007). The Legacy of John Rawls. Continuum International Publishing Group. 0826478433. 9780826499875

Book chapters (9)

Freyenhagen, F., (2019). Adorno (and Horkheimer) on Anti-Semitism. In: Blackwell Companion to Adorno. Editors: Hammer, E., Gordon, P. and Pensky, M., . Wiley. 103- 122. 9781119146919

Freyenhagen, F., (2018). Critical Theory and Social Pathology. In: The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School. Editors: Gordon, P., Hammer, E. and Honneth, A., . Routledge. 978-1138333246

Freyenhagen, F., (2017). >>Aber was das Unmenschliche ist, das wissen wir sehr genau<< Zur Normativitätsproblematik bei Adorno. In: Warum Kritik? Begründungsformen kritischer Theorien. Editors: Ellmers, S. and Hogh, P., . Velbrück Wissenschaft. 229- 257. 3958320635

Freyenhagen, F., (2016). Critical Theory's Philosophy. In: The Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology. Editors: D'Oro, G. and Overgaard, S., . Cambridge University Press. 356- 378. 9781107121522

(2012). Conceptions of Critique in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy. In: Conceptions of Critique in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan UK. 175- 192. 9781349318971

Finlayson, JG. and Freyenhagen, F., (2012). Introduction: The Habermas–Rawls dispute: Analysis and reevaluation. Routledge. 1- 21

Freyenhagen, F., (2012). The Empty Formalism Objection Revisited. In: Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Wiley. 43- 72. 9781405188135

Freyenhagen, F., (2009). No Easy Way Out: Adorno's Negativism and the Problem of Normativity. In: Nostalgia for a Redeemed Future: Critical Theory. Editors: Ludovisi, SG. and Saavedra, GA., . University of Delaware Press. 39- 50. 9780874130720

Freyenhagen, F., (2008). Moral philosophy. In: Theodor Adorno. Acumen Publishing Limited. 99- 114. 9781844651191

Reports and Papers (1)

Martin, W. and Freyenhagen, F., (2014). Use or Weigh? or Use and Weigh? A Note on the Logic of MCA sec. 3(1)

Grants and funding


Social Pathology: systemic obstacles to addressing development challenges

University of Essex (GCRF)


Contested Autonomy

Arts And Humanities Research Council


Visiting Fellowship - Frankfurt : Rethinking Justice

Goethe Universitat - Frankfurt


Deciding for Oneself: Autonomous Judgement

Arts And Humanities Research Council

+44 (0) 1206 872713


5B.113, Colchester Campus

More about me