Sabine Döring’s main research areas are the theory of practical rationality, ethics, aesthetics, and increasingly the philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on the philosophy of emotion.
In her thesis (entitled “Ästhetische Erfahrung als Erkenntnis des Ethischen: Die Kunsttheorie Robert Musil’s und die analytische Philosophie“) she examined Robert Musil’s claim that ethical knowledge can only be gained by aesthetic experience. This claim is ultimately based on a particular theory of emotion, fascinating enough to ground an enduring interest into the subject.
Sabine Döring “Habilitationsschrift” (Second Book) deals with the problem of rational motivation, i. e. with the problem of how to account for the conceptual claim that normative practical reasons are capable of motivating us towards action. In short, the idea is that this problem can only be solved by integrating the emotions, understood as “affective perceptions”, into the theory of practical rationality and morality.

Current Research Projects

Ethics and Standards of Good Practice for ‘Emotion-oriented Systems’
Sabine is currently working (with Peter Goldie) in the HUMAINE (Human-Machine Interaction Network of Emotion) Network of Excellence in the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme.
Autonomy and Control: Weakness of Will Reconsidered
In 2005 Sabine joined the VW (Volkswagen-Stiftung) research project Kontrolle und Verantwortung: Untersuchungen zur Natur und Kultur des Wollens as a cooperation partner. Partners are Thomas Goschke, Professor of Psychology, Dresden University, Germany; Wolfgang Prinz, Professor of Psychology, Director of Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Sabine Maasen, Professor of Sociology, Basel University, Switzerland; and Wilhelm Vossenkuhl, Professor of Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany.
The cooperation yields a three years grant for a PhD student working with her on Weakness of Will and the Autonomy of Persons.