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Prof. Dr. Dr. Norman Sieroka

Building/room:  Seminar- und Forschungsverfügungsgebäude (SFG) 4190
Phone:  +49 (0)421 218 67830

E-Mail:  sierokaprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

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On "critical thinking/research-based learning":

Research areas

Norman Sieroka is working in theoretical philosophy. His focus is on the philosophy of time, natural philosophy (Naturphilosophie), epistemology of the sciences (in particular physics and mathematics), philosophy of mind (in particular phenomenology and the perception of sound and music), and the historiography of philosophy and of the sciences. His historical expertise are the Ionian thinkers in antiquity, Leibniz and Spinoza in the early modern period, Fichte and Schelling in German Idealism, and Husserl, Weyl, Cassirer, and Whitehead in the early twentieth century.

His book publications include Philosophie der Zeit – Grundlagen und Perspektiven (Beck, 2018), Leibniz, Husserl, and the Brain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Philosophie der Physik – Eine Einführung (Beck, 2014), Umgebungen: Symbolischer Konstruktivismus im Anschluss an Hermann Weyl und Fritz Medicus (Chronos, 2010), and Quantum Field Theory in a Semiotic Perspective (together with H.G. Dosch and V.F. Müller; Springer, 2005).

A unifying theme in Norman Sieroka's work is "time". He investigates the different forms in which we encounter temporal orders (such as physical time, historical time, time as individually experienced, etc.); how these different forms relate to one another; and whether their basic structure is continuous or discrete. More specifically, in the context of phenomenology and the philosophy of perception, he studies such questions as "how does a sequence of perceptions become the perception of a sequence?" and questions of time consciousness. An understanding of the constitution and the relationship between subjective and objective time (and A-times versus B-times) is, in his opinion, fundamental for a general understanding of the relation between mental states and physical states. On the metaphysical-epistemological side of Sieroka's work, the interplay between time, continuity, and discreteness is particularly relevant in connection with approaches from the exact sciences, for example regarding the question of the relation between matter and space-time. 

The consideration of philosophical problems from different, often interdisciplinary perspectives, as a characteristic feature of Sieroka's work, is born of a conviction that only such an approach can deliver a deeper understanding of systematic questions. This includes both the reference to recent developments especially in the context of data-driven methods (keywords here being "big data" and "machine learning") as well as an intensive reference to history in order to track developments and historical variations of concepts and themes. For instance, he supports the thesis that most areas of physics are shaped more by their longstanding methods and epistemological motives than by their concrete contents. 

Norman Sieroka engages in research-based teaching and learning. He has been developing interdisciplinary courses together with colleagues from, for instance, physics, pharmaceutical science and architecture. To facilitate collaborative efforts in education and research he co-developed the "knowledge network online whiteboard" KNOW.


Complete List of Publications



Research Gate:

Norman Sieroka, born 1974 near Worpswede, has been full Professor for Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bremen since 2019. He studied philosophy, physics and mathematics at Heidelberg University and the University of Cambridge. At Cambridge he received his MPhil degree in history and philosophy of science in 1999; in Heidelberg he received his diploma in physics in 2002 and in 2004 he earned his doctorate in physics at the Institute for Theoretical Physics there, with a dissertation on "Neurophysiological Aspects of Time Perception". Subsequently, at the ETH Zurich, he earned a further doctorate ("Umgebungen", 2009) as well as his habilitation ("[Un-]Conscious Perception and Time", 2012), both in philosophy.

After working as a researcher and lecturer in physics, neurophysiology and philosophy at Heidelberg and Bamberg Universities, Norman Sieroka was employed at the ETH Zurich from 2004 to 2019. He held positions at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences as well as at the Department of Physics, lastly as a senior research fellow in philosophy, managing director of the Turing Centre Zurich and educational developer and advisory board member for the "Critical Thinking" Initiative (CTETH). From 2015 to 2017, he was an associated member of the Center "History of Knowledge" of the ETH and the University of Zurich, and was a visiting faculty member in the Departments of Philosophy and of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. in 2015.

Norman Sieroka is a member of the Data Science Center (University of Bremen), the research platform "Worlds of Contradiction" (University of Bremen) and the "AG Forschungsdaten" (U Bremen Research Alliance). He is appointed as a lecturer in philosophy at the ETH Zurich where he is also a member of the Directory Board of the Turing Centre Zurich and of the Governance Board of the think-and-do-tank "rethink".