Jonas Harney


Bldg. A2 3, Room 0.12,
Tel. +49 (0) 681 302-3688


Research Interests

My research focuses on normative ethics, in particular on the theoretical aspects of the ethics of future people. In my PhD thesis, I am engaged with the theoretical problems and puzzles of moral theory regarding future people that have emerged from population ethics. I investigate on fine-grained intermediate accounts between personal (or person-affecting) and impersonal views of morality since both views seem to be badly suited for comprehensive solutions. Personal accounts capture the intuition that we ought to make people happy rather than to make happy people, but they fail to solve Parfit’s famous Non-Identity Problem. Impersonal accounts, by contrast, capture the idea that in causing people’s existences we ought to bring those people into existence who would be better off than others, but such accounts run into implausible implications such as the Repugnant Conclusion. While some philosophers therefore claim that a satisfying population ethics is impossible, I belief that hybrid accounts which conflate the ideas of both personal and impersonal views provide a promising alternative. Consequently, my aim is to develop and study such hybrids in order to make progress in population ethics as well as in moral theory in general.For our action’s increasing impact on future people, who will be far more numerous than present people, makes it particularly urgent for us to clarify your moral concerns for them.


Furthermore, in the area of normative ethics, I take interests in the opposition between consequentialist and deontologist moral theories, its characteristics and mutual critique, whether they could be reconciled, and the relation between evaluative and deontic judgments. My further interests include applied ethics, particularly with regards to future people (such as climate change), political philosophy, and metaethics.



  • since 05/2018:PhD Student, Saarland University, Department of Philosophy, Chair for Practical Philosophy, supervised by Christoph Fehige 
  • 03/2018:M.A. in Philosophy, Humboldt-University Berlin, Thesis: Reasons of  Beneficence and the Non-Identity Problem. A Challenge to Johann Frick’s Bearer-Dependent Solution
  • 11/2012: B.A. in Philosophy, Sociology and Political Science, TU Dresden, Thesis: Gendiagnostik im Namen des genetischen Weltbildes. Kritischethische Reflexion der Grundlagen und der medizinischen Anwendung der Gentechnologie
  • 06/2008: Abitur, Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium, Schwedt/Oder


Talks and Paper Presentations

  • 06/05/2018 Personal and Impersonal Betterness of Outcomes: A Hybrid View, Workshop on Practical Philosophy, Saarland University
  • 21/01/2018 Why the Bearer-Dependent View fails to solve the Non-Identity Problem. A Reply to Johann Frick, Workshop on Practical Philosophy, Saarland University
  • 27/09/2017 Person-Affecting Repugnant Conclusion, XXIV. Congress of the German Society for Philosophy (DGPhil), Humboldt-University Berlin
  • 04/01/2017 Personenbetreffende Repugnant Conclusion, Student Lecture in Philosophy, Humboldt-University Berlin
  • 2016 – 2017 Several paper presentations at the philosophical colloquia of Prof. Kirsten Meyer and Prof. Thomas Schmidt, Humboldt-University Berlin



  • 04/2018–present: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Graduate Assistant), Department of Philosophy, Saarland University
  • 01/2016–03/2018: Studentische Hilfskraft (Student Research Assistant), Humboldt-University Berlin, Department of Philosophy, Chair for Practical Philosophy and Didactics (Prof. Kirsten Meyer)



  • 2016    Wie lässt sich solidarische Ökonomie weltweit verwirklichen? Ein Portrait von FairBindung. In Bastian Ronge (ed.), Solidarische Ökonomie als Lebensform. Berliner Akteure des alternativen Wirtschaftens im Porträt, Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 71 – 95.
  • 2011    Personalisierte Unmündigkeit. Zur Rationalität der Nutrigenomik und ihren Funktionen. Gen-ethischer Informationsdienst, Spezial no. 11, 2011, pp. 24 – 32.



  •   B.A. Seminar Sollte man die größere Anzahl retten?, Saarland University, Winter Term 2018/2019 (forthcoming)
  •   B.A. Seminar Ethik in den Religionen, Saarland University, Winter Term 2018/2019 (forthcoming)
  •   B.A. Tutorial Introduction to Normative Ethics, Humboldt-University Berlin, Winter Term 2016/2017