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 and of the opposition and relation between consequentalist and deontological moral theories and the various problems that are connected with those aspects. In my PhD thesis, I am engaged with the distinction between personal views and impersonal views in moral theories of welfare. The distinction is used to demarcate some moral theories from others, to establish a boarder between the different kinds of theories, and to argue for or against a certain construal in various debates in normative ethics: the agent-dependency of morality, the debate between consequentalism and deontology, discussions about interpersonal aggregation and the separateness of persons, the distinction between good-for and good simpliciter, and population ethics.


My interest in and the aim of my PhD project regarding the distinction between personal and impersonal views are twofold. On the one hand, philosophers haven’t kept apart the quite different categories of distinctions that are merged in the personal-impersonal differentiation. For sometimes one and the same distinction is discussed in different debates, while sometimes one and the same debate discusses quite different distinctions that have not been kept apart properly. Accordingly, I investigate and differentiate various understandings of personal and impersonal views. On the other hand, purely impersonal as well as purely personal views seem to be badly suited for comprehensive solutions to some of the most important problems in welfare ethics. For example, impersonal views are accused of disrespecting people, violating the separateness of persons and yielding implausible implications such as the Repugnant Conclusion. Personal views, by contrast, struggle to account for moral imperatives to save the greater number of people and to solve the Non-Identity Problem. However, I belief that plural and hybrid accounts which conflate the idea(s) of both personal and impersonal views provide a promising alternative. Consequently, my aim is to develop and study such plurals and hybrids in order to make progress in welfare ethics and moral theory quite general.


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



  • 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)

Talks and Paper Presentations

  • 29/04/2019 Distinguishing Personal and Impersonal Views in Welfare Ethics, Normative and Applied Ethics Colloquium (Prof. Kirsten Meyer), Humboldt-University Berlin
  • 18/11/2018 Personal Value in Variable Population Comparison, Workshop on Practical Philosophy, Saarland University
  • 22/10/2018 On Parfit’s Wide Dual Person-Affecting Principle, Normative and Applied Ethics Colloquium (Prof. Kirsten Meyer), Humboldt-University Berlin
  • 20/09/2018 The Bearer-Dependent View of Beneficence and the Non-Identity Problem, 10th Congress of the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP.10), University of Cologne
  • 24/07/2018  Parfit’s Dual Person-Affecting Principle: A Double Hybrid, 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • 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



  • 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.


Conference Organisation

  • Karlsruhe - Saarbrücken Colloquium of Philosophy (KASCO), co-organized with Thorsten Helfer, Saarland University, February 12, 2019



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