Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst

Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy


Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst

Director of the Research Centre
Normative Orders

Co-Director of the Cluster Initiative
"ConTrust – Trust in Conflict. Political Life under Conditions of Uncertainty"

Director of the Leibniz Prize Research Group 
Transnational Justice

Deputy speaker of a coordinated sub-Institute in Frankfurt of the
Research Institute for Social Cohesion

Permanent Fellow at Institute for Advanced Studies 
(Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften)

Director of the Justitia Center for Advanced Studies

Course Executive Master in Political Theory

Contact Professor Forst


Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Max-Horkheimer-Straße 2
60323 Frankfurt am Main

phone.: +49 (0) 69 / 798 - 31540
fax: +49 (0) 69 / 798 - 31542


 > map of Campus Westend



 Office hours: To arrange an appointment, please send an email to   forst[at]   

Administrative Assistant

Foto homepage ss

Sonja Sickert, B. A.

Goethe-University Frankfurt
Assistant of Prof. Forst

Phone: +49 (0) 69 / 798 - 31541
Fax: +49 (0) 69 / 798 - 31542

Building "Normative Ordnungen"
Max-Horkheimer-Straße 2, 60323 Frankfurt
Room 4.02                                                         

Office hours for students
Mon -  Thu, 2 - 4 pm - and on appointment


Events and updates from the professorship

RESEARCH PAPER »The rational critique of social unreason. On critical theory in the Frankfurt tradition«

A new article by Rainer Forst was recently published in Constellations. It is entitled "The rational critique of social unreason. On critical theory in the Frankfurt tradition" and deals with the concepts of reason and unreason in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. Forst argues that the Frankfurt School is characterised by a reflexive, systematic rational critique of existing forms of social unreason, combining social scientific analysis with normative reflection. A convincing continuation of this critical project should thus relate to the practice of justification, and thus ultimately to the principle of critique itself.

Find the full research paper here:

STATEMENT »Beyond Black and White«

Rainer Forst made a statement to the Frankfurter Rundschau on 25 November 2023, on the occasion of the critical response ‘Human Dignity for All’, Guardian online, 22 November, which refers to the statement ‘Principles of Solidarity’ by Nicole Deitelhoff, Klaus Günther, Jürgen Habermas and myself of 13 November 2023 (published on

Find the statement in full here:

"Beyond Black and White"

LECTURES »The Nature of Normative Concepts: Dependence vs. Independence«

From October 3-5, 2023, Rainer Forst will be giving the Jerome S. Simon Lectures at the University of Toronto, titled »The Nature of Normative Concepts: Dependence vs. Independence«. In these lectures, he discusses the distinction between normatively dependent and normatively independent concepts. Normatively dependent concepts, such as solidarity and trust, are descriptive in nature and require other normative sources to have normative value. The normatively independent concept of justice, on the other hand, entails a normative content that guides all possible conceptions of justice.

Find more information on the lectures here:

Jerome S. Simon Lectures

RESEARCH PAPER »The rule of unreason. Analyzing (anti-)democratic regression«

A new research paper by Rainer Forst has recently been published in Constellations. It is entitled "The rule of unreason. Analyzing (anti-)democratic regression" and deals with the notion of democratic or anti-democratic regression as part of an analysis of the crisis of democracy. The paper discusses the normative presuppositions that justify the use of this term, understood as a diagnosis of the 'rule of unreason'. This clarification allows to avoid some mistakes in the discussion on this matter: that of the status quo ante fixation, that of the reduction of the concept of democracy, and that of the wrong classification of the critique of democracy. Following these considerations, Forst discusses his own assessment of the causes of democratic regression and the paradoxes of our time.

Find the full research paper here: