Michael Steinmann (msteinma)

Michael Steinmann


College of Arts and Letters

Kidde 356
(201) 216-8245


Ethics, including Applied Ethics, 19th- and 20th-Century Continental Philosophy

General Information

I am a philosopher trained in the tradition of Continental philosophy. I am interested in continuing some of the questions that have been raised in this tradition, such as the possibility of a foundation of ethical values and theories and the problem of determining the nature of the human mind. I am also deeply interested in questions of applied ethics and the use of philosophical ideas in current political debates.

My book on the problem of moral theories is about to be published with Bloomsbury Academic (publication date: February 23, 2023). The title is "Reframing Ethics Through Dialectics. A New Understanding of the Moral Good." In this book, I argue that moral thinking is based on one fundamental notion, the notion of the absolute good. All moral determinations and theories are involved in dialectical contradictions and fail the good, which is their standard. Being moral means to acknowledge the contradictions that all positions involve, I believe.

I will be on sabbatical in Spring 23 to begin work on a book in the philosophy of mind. The working title is "The Meaning of the Mind." I argue that the mind does not provide a hard problem, as some assume, but a hard stop. We have accept that there is no theoretical explanation of the mind. Instead, we should consider what we lose if we consider the mind as a natural property whose origin and nature needs to be explained. Not only do we lose the ability to experience truth as it originates from the mind of others and the givenness of mind-independent things. We also miss the question of why we think in the first place. I believe that the question of the "meaning of mind" is best approached as an ethical, not a theoretical question.

I am also working on a publication that would use philosophical ideas for the foundation of Universal Basic Income (working title: "The Right to Happiness"). Such a foundation requires us to rethink merit, desert, and the mutual support that society provides.


Lecturer for Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University, 2007-2008

Visiting Professor at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, 2007 and 2011

Co-Director of the Program for Basic Ethical-Philosophical Studies, 2005-2007

Research Fellow, Interdepartmental Center for Ethics in the Sciences and in the Humanities and Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tübingen, 2003-2005

Research Fellow and Lecturer, from 2006 as Privatdozent, Department of Philosophy, University of Freiburg 2002-2007

Research Fellow and Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Tübingen, 1999-2002

Institutional Service

  • Academic Planning and Resources Committee Member
  • CAL Curriculum Committee Chair
  • Program in Humanities and Social Sciences Chair
  • Hiring Committee for Dean of Undergraduate Education Member
  • Nominations and Governance Board of Trustees Sub-Committee Member
  • Hiring Committee for Tenured Professor in Music & Technology Chair
  • CAL Nominating Committee Chair
  • Institute Promotions and Tenure Committee Member
  • Hiring Committee Quantitative Social Science Chair
  • Curriculum Committee Chair
  • Faculty Senate Chair

Professional Service

  • Existenz. An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts Member of Board of Advisors
  • Nietzsche Circle Member of Board of Advisors
  • Karl Jaspers Society of North America Executive-at-Large


Faculty Member, School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology, 2022-2025

Professional Societies

  • Martin Heidegger Gesellschaft Member
  • Nietzsche Circle Member
  • North American Heidegger Circle Member
  • KJSNA – Karl Jaspers Society of North America Member

Selected Publications


  1. Steinmann, M.; Durakoglu, A.; Tuncel, Y. (2022). Nietzsche and Music: Philosophical Thoughts and Musical Experiments. no. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Book Chapter

  1. Steinmann, M. (2022). Thinking Through Music. On Non-Propositional Thought in Nietzsche’s Philosophy. Nietzsche and Music: Philosophical Thoughts and Musical Experiments (pp. 20-36). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  2. Steinmann, M. (2021). “Schopenhauer und Nietzsche. Ein Vortragszyklus (1919)“ . Handbook Georg Simmel. Edited by Jörn Bohr / Tim-Florian Goslar / Gerald Hartung / Heike Koenig (pp. 273-280). Stuttgart: Metzler.

Book Review

  1. Steinmann, M. (2021). Konrad Paul Liessmann, „Alle Lust will Ewigkeit. Mitternächtliche Versuchungen,” . Der Blaue Reiter (48 ed., pp. 105). Hannover.
  2. Steinmann, M. N. (2019). Werner Stegmaier, “Europa im Geisterkrieg. Studien zu Nietzsche.“ . The Agonist. A Nietzsche Circle Journal (2 ed., vol. 12, pp. 64-69). online.

Conference Proceeding

  1. Steinmann, M. (2022). The Aesthetics of the Posthuman Human. Remarks Based on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. no. Journal of Posthumanism (1 ed., vol. 2, pp. 79-85). London: Transnational Press.
  2. Steinmann, M. N. (2019). “Phenomenology as Realism” . Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Conference of the North American Heidegger Circle (pp. 171-172). online.
    Heidegger Circle website currently under re-construction.

Journal Article

  1. Steinmann, M. (2019). The axial age and the quest for a secular religion in modernity. no. Existenz. International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts (1 ed., vol. 14, pp. 98-106). Online https://existenz.us/: Karl Jaspers Society of North America.
  2. Steinmann, M. N. (2019). “Some remarks on new translations of Jaspers’ works.”. Existenz. An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts (2 ed., vol. 13, pp. 97-100). online.