Photo of Dr Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann)

Dr Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann)

Research Interests

I am an experienced early-career researcher in theoretical philosophy, working at the intersection of metaphysics (broadly construed, including in particular the philosophy of action and mind), and the philosophy of biology. I am convinced that much of contemporary metaphysics suffers from a lack of attention to insights from empirical sciences in general and biology in particular. At the same time I believe that biologists and philosophers of biology can substantially benefit from reflecting on the metaphysical implications and presumptions of their work. I am devoted to initiating a constructive dialogue between these disciplines, thereby also crossing the boundaries between the 'analytic' and the 'continental' traditions of academic philosophy.

I am particularly interested in the following topics:

  • personal identity and philosophy of the human person
  • theories of persistence and metaphysics of time
  • (non-Whiteheadian) process ontology
  • bio-agency and free will
  • theories of the organism, biological explanation, origins and theory of life
  • artificial intelligence, embodied cognition, robotics
  • developmental biology and arguments for embryo protection
  • dispositionalism and theories of causation, including mental causation
  • phenomenology and philosophical anthropology
  • history of philosophy, especially Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Bergson, Heidegger, Jonas


In 2015 my monograph on personal identity came out, which brings together the debate on personal identity within 'analytic' metaphysics on the one hand and the 'continental' philosophy of the person on the other:

"Auf dem Kamplatz der Metaphysik. Kritische Studien zur transtemporalen Identität von Personen" ("On the Battlefield of Metaphysics. Critical Studies on the Transtemporal Identity of Persons"), Münster: Mentis, July 2015.

Here is a short summary of the book's content in English:

The contemporary philosophical debate about persons and their transtemporal identity is stuck in a dilemma: reductionists destruct the idea of transtemporal personal identity in the course of its empirical analysis while non-reductionists transform it into a substance-metaphysical mystery. Transtemporal personal identity is either ‘explained away’ or ‘pseudo-explained’. 
The dilemmatic structure of the discourse puts pressure on our everyday belief that persons exist for longer than only a single moment in time: as the transtemporal identity of persons seems to systematically evade a satisfactory metaphysical explanation, doubts arise as to whether there actually is such a thing as personal identity. At least as dubious, however, appears to be the metaphysics which constantly fails to provide a satisfactory explanation.  
The present critical studies on the transtemporal identity of persons explore the prospects of escaping the dilemma which, as it turns out, is neither new nor harmless. From a Kantian perspective, what we are confronted with is rather a fundamental dialectic, originating in the very structure of human reason and threatening to turn metaphysics altogether into an arena of fruitless battles. The possibility of a satisfactory metaphysical account of transtemporal personal identity reveals itself to be contingent on the possibility of a ‘good’ metaphysics able to overcome that dialectic.