Engineering meets philosophy

TUM students can enrich their education with philosophical lectures.    Image: H

TUM students can enrich their education with philosophical lectures. Image: Hochschule für Philosophie München

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Munich School of Philosophy (HFPH) are intensifying their cooperation in teaching programs. The first TUM students are already attending HFPH lectures this semester. The inter-university course offerings are part of the TUM excellence concept, and are intended to integrate ethics and social issues into engineering and the natural sciences.

How do we want to define the framework for human-machine relationships’ What would a fair economic order look like? Where are the limits of medicine? Whether their area of specialization is engineering, the natural sciences or medicine, experts can act responsibly only if they have explored the ethical issues of their chosen field and have the right tools to discuss them.

To complement the efforts to establish its own activities in the social sciences, TUM has now secured a partnership with the Munich School of Philosophy (HFPH) , one of the most respected institutions in its field, to help students broaden their educational horizons. The partners also plan to allow HFPH students to enrol for courses across the broad range of subject areas offered at TUM. In addition, they intend to intensify their cooperation in research.

TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann and Prof. Johannes Wallacher, the President of HFPH, signed the cooperative agreement for the new, future-oriented model today. TUM students are already attending their first lectures and seminars at HFPH. They are free to choose among the subject areas offered by HFPH - such as a basic introduction to the big questions of human existence or concrete ethical issues in their own fields. Students can also decide on the number of modules to complete, from just one lecture to a second degree under the "Philosophicum" program, which issues its own certificate. TUM will open up the possibility to treat HFPH coursework as so-called extradisciplinary courses which every student has to complete.

"Offering access to courses at HFPH is an excellent enrichment of our degree programs," says TUM President Hofmann. "This cooperation is a key step in our efforts to deeply root the societal dimension in teaching and research in the engineering sciences. We want to enable our students to think and act in the interests of human-centered, trustworthy and socially acceptable innovations. We are delighted that they will now have the opportunity to learn from the wisest philosophers."

"With this comprehensive cooperation with TUM, a University of Excellence with an outstanding international reputation, we are underscoring the importance of philosophy for our society," said HFPH President Wallacher. "Through the modular philosophy programs, we will also provide students in engineering and natural sciences with the tools they need for networked thinking and responsible action. We’re looking forward to working with TUM to enable tomorrow’s decision makers and innovators to grow into personalities who can face up to the challenges of the present and future."


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