Academic freedom: Clarifying a disputed concept.

December 15, 2023

The freedom of academic inquiry is deeply intertwined with the history of modern understanding of knowledge, as well as with Enlightenment-era expectations tied to the right to free speech. However, these expectations and hopes seem distant when, in times of pandemics or climate crises, the relationship between science and democratic politics becomes a topic of heated debate. Public discussions about "Cancel Culture" and controls over discourse and language also address the reasons and potential limits of academic freedoms, advocating either for their restriction or their inviolability. It's a fitting time to ask: what is the true value of academic freedom?

This lecture delves into the historical and normative foundations of academic freedom, discusses the role of science in democracy, and comments on public debates concerning threats to academic freedom, as well as to freedom of opinion and the arts, due to "politicization" and "moralization."

Professor Elif Özmen holds the Chair of Practical Philosophy at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen. Some of her books include: "Über Wissenschaftsfreiheit. Aufklärung eines umkämpften Begriffs" (2024); "Was ist Liberalismus?" (2023); "Wissenschaftsfreiheit im Konflikt. Grundlagen, Herausforderungen und Grenzen" (2021); "Über Menschliches. Anthropologie zwischen Natur und Utopie" (2016); "Politische Philosophie zur Einführung" (2013).


From 5.30 pm | Admission and Get-Together

6.30 pm -6.40 pm | Welcome by Korbinian Kohler

6.40 pm – 7 pm | Introduction by Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Vossenkuhl

7 pm – 7.45 pm | Keynote Speech by Guest Speaker

7.45 pm – 8.15 pm | Discussion

8.30 pm - midnight | Exclusive Gala Dinner

Until 8:15 pm, hotel guests and external visitors can attend the lecture for free, provided they register 24 hours in advance, subject to availability and upon request.

Book your participation here at:


Accreditation Dinner

For an exclusive dinner in an intimate setting with the possibility for discussion you can register with us:


190 Euro per Person


Maximum Number of Participants: 20 Guests

The speaker, Professor Vossenkuhl and Korbinian Kohler will be present.