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
60629 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, 60629 Frankfurt
Room 4.02                                                         

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


Events and updates from the professorship

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

CONFERENCE »Flaschenpost: Critical Theory at 100 - The European and American Reception, 1923-2023«

As part of the Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History, the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University will host the two-day conference »Flaschenpost: Critical Theory at 100 - The European and American Reception, 1923-2023« on October 6 and 7, 2023. On October 7, Rainer Forst will give a lecture entitled »The Rational Critique of Social Unreason: On Critical Theory in the Frankfurt Tradition«.

Find more information on the conference here:

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:

WORKING PAPER »The Justification of Trust in Conflict«

As part of the cluster initiative "ConTrust - Trust in Conflict", Rainer Forst has published a working paper entitled "The Justification of Trust in Conflict. Conceptual and Normative Groundwork". In this paper, he argues that trust and conflict should not be understood as opposing terms. Furthermore, he differentiates between a general concept and specific conceptions of trust, and argues that trust is only normatively valuable if it is well justified.

Download the full working paper here:

»The Justification of Trust in Conflict«