Alumni Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-139
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: lahno@spam


Prof. Dr. Bernd Lahno joins Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Senior Fellow. He will be conducting his research in Research Unit 1 “The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation” from February 2013 to January 2014.

Research Project at the Centre

Norms and Rules as a Foundation of Social Cooperation

Rational Choice Theory (RC) has lost most of its glamour from the 1980s. However, it is still the most refined and sophisticated theory of social behavior and, without doubt, it does have some explanatory power in different fields of social interaction. This project is an attempt to contribute to the critical assessment of RC and its limits, to the exploration of potential refinement or radical reform of RC in search for a powerful and appropriate theory of social cooperation. It builds on previous work on rule-following behavior and social norms in which I argued that classical RC cannot on itself account for social norms but may possibly be supplemented by a suitable theory that introduces norms as equilibrium selection devices.

The project comprises three parts. In the first part on strategic problems of information transmission I explore the potential and the limits of communicative cooperation in simple game theoretic settings. I focus on situations in which a person is confronted with the – possibly conflicting – testimonial statements of different individuals (experts). First analyses show that following the majority is not necessarily good advice and competition ('the market') is not necessarily conducive to truth.

In the second part I investigate one of the most exciting and promising developments within the theory of choice: Robert Sugden's Theory of Team Reasoning. The theory breaks with fundamental axioms of RC, in particular with methodological individualism. Using techniques from experimental economics I explore its explanatory and predictive power in contexts characterized by a problem of coordination. RC analysis has traditionally played a considerable role in modern social contract theory. Thus, the increasing skepticism towards the RC perspective on social cooperation has stimulated a fresh debate about contractarianism.

In the third part of the project I invite leading scholars from social contract theory and their critics to contribute to a re-evaluation of the idea of the social contract in a 'special topic' that I edit with Geoffrey Brennan from ANU in RMM, an open access journal at the intersection of economics and philosophy (see:

Research Interests

  • Trust and cooperation
  • Theory of choice
  • Philosophy of economics
  • Collective intentionality and team reasoning
  • Rational choice analysis of communication
  • Rule following behavior
  • Conceptual foundations of contract theory

Current Projects

  • Norms and Rules as a Foundation of Social Cooperation
  • Team reasoning and moral behavior
  • Forms of social aggreement
  • Trust and testimony in communication
  • The essence of trustworthiness


Since 09/2006 Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Legals Studies and Ethics Department
Professor of Philosophy and Quantitative Methods
10/2001-08/2006 University of Duisburg-Essen
Department of Philosophy
Research and Teaching Assistent
03/1998-09/2001 Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Department of the Sociology
Research and Teaching Assistent
09/1996-02/1997 Gerhard Mercator University Duisburg
Department of Philosophy
Research and Teaching Assistent
09/1992-12/1993 Gerhard Mercator University Duisburg
Department of Philosophy
Research and Teaching Assistent
08/1983-02/1998 Different schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Teaching Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics (episodic leaves for research in 1992/93, 1996/97/98)
High school teacher


Lahno, Bernd (2012): Simple Games of Information Transmission, Analyse & Kritik 2

Lahno, Bernd (2010): Norms of Evaluation vs. Norms of Conduct, in: Michael Baurmann / Geoffrey Brennan, Robert E. Goodin / Nicholas Southwood (ed.): Norms and Values, Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verl., S. 95-112

Lahno, Bernd (2010): Individuelle Rationalität und kollektive Perspektive <Individual rationality and collective perspective>, in: Marco Iorio / Rainer Reisenzein (Hrsg.): Regel, Norm, Gesetz, Frankfurt am Main: Lang, S. 203-231

Lahno, Bernd (2009): Verantwortlich Handeln <Acting responsibly>, Zeitschrift für Management Jg. 4(1), S. 75-94

Lahno, Bernd (2009): Norms as Reasons for Action, in: Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie Bd. 95(4), S. 563-578

Lahno, Bernd (2006): Making Sense of Categorical Imperatives, in: Analyse und Kritik 28, 71-82

Lahno, Bernd (2004): Trust and Community on the Internet, edited with Anton Leist, Michael Baurmann und Uwe Matzat, Analyse und Kritik 26(1), special issue, Stuttgart

Lahno, Bernd (2002): Der Begriff des Vertrauens <The concept of trust>, Paderborn, Mentis Verlag

Lahno, Bernd (2001): On the Emotional Character of Trust, in: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4, 171-189, also in: Elias L. Khalil (ed.).: Trust. Critical Studies in Economic Institutions. Vol. 3. Cheltenham / Northhampton, Ma. 2003 (Edward Elgar), 264-284

Lahno, Bernd (2000): In Defense of Moderate Envy, Analyse und Kritik 22(1), 98-113

Lahno, Bernd (1995): Versprechen -  Überlegungen zu einer künstlichen Tugend <Promises - Considerations about an artifical virtue>, München, Oldenbourg

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Since 1992: Numerous courses (basic and advanced, lectures as well as seminars) in Ethics, Social Philosophy, Epistemology and Game Theory
  • Since 1992: Basic courses in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and Mathematics

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Member of the Programme Committee (PC) of the Fourth Conference 2013 of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA) (see
  • Referee reports for Analyse & Kritik, Rationality and Society, Erkenntnis, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice; Economics and Philosophy, Philosophical Explorations, Synthese, Homo Oeconomicus
  • Founding editor and head editor of 'Rationality, Markets and Morals' (RMM), an interdisciplinary open access journal at the intersection of philosophy and economics

Seminars and Conferences

  • Co-lecturer at the Vienna Summer School of the Vienna Circle: Economics & Philosophy, 2006
  • Co-organizer of "Trust and Community on the Internet“ at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) in Bielefeld, 2003


  • Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie / Society for Analytical Philosophy (GAP)

Dr Philip Liste

Dr Blayne Haggart

Prof. Dr Marianne Marchand

Dr Tamirace Fakhoury

Dr Adam Sandor

Prof. Dr Claudia Derichs

Dr Stephen Adaawen

Dr Dr Ariel Hernández

Prof. Dr Frank Adloff

Dr Bettina Mahlert

Dr Franz Mauelshagen

Prof. Dr Dr Marlies Ahlert

Dr Zeynep Sahin Mencutek

Dr Mariana Nardone

Dr Ying Shen

Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel

Dr Esref Aksu

Dr Micheline van Riemsdijk

Prof. Dr Wouter Werner

Dr Pol Bargués-Pedreny

Dr Burcu Bayram

Dr Isaline Bergamaschi

Dr Felix Bethke

Dr Sarah Van Beurden

Jun.-Prof. Dr Manuel Borutta

Gerardo Bracho

Dr Morgan Brigg

Prof. Dr Lothar Brock

Prof. Stephen Brown

Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Dr Bettina Burger-Menzel

Dr Alessandra Cappelletti

Prof. David Carment, Ph.D.

Dr Paula Castro

Dr Ayse Cavdar

Prof. Dr Gerald Chan

Prof. David Chandler

Prof. Hongming Cheng

Prof. Dr Manjiao Chi

Prof. Andrew Cooper

Prof. Dr Larry Crump

Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

Dr Alejandro Esguerra

Prof. Dr Isabel Feichtner

Dr Peter Finkenbusch

Jaroslava Gajdošová, Ph.D.

Prof. Noemi Gal-Or, Ph.D., LL.B.

Dr Daniel Gaus

Mneesha Gellman, Ph.D.

Dr Payam Ghalehdar

Prof. Faten Ghosn

Dr Gianluca Grimalda

Dr Jennifer Gronau

Dr Stefan Groth

Prof. Dr Eric Grynaviski

Dr Petra Gümplová

Prof. Dr Gunther Hellmann

Dr Heike Hennig-Schmidt

Prof. Dr Pablo Holmes

Dr Joe Hoover

Prof. Dr Jon Hovi

Prof. Meibo Huang

Dr Abou Jeng

Prof. Dr Anja Jetschke

Prof. Dr Jonathan Joseph

Dr Yannis Kallianos

Dr phil. habil. Otto Kallscheuer

Prof. Dr Babacar Kanté

Prof. Dr Ina Kerner

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

Dr Xavier Mathieu

Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

Dr Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby

Dr Elisabetta Nadalutti

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Dirk Peters

Dr Steven Pierce

Prof. Elena Pulcini

Prof. Dr Sigrid Quack

Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

Dr Galya Ruffer

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

Dr Andrea Schapper

Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

Dr Jessica Schmidt

Dr Mario Schmidt

Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

Prof. Jan Aart Scholte

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Dr Katrin Seidel

Dr Balraj K. Sidhu

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Dr Abdolkarim Soroush

Prof. Detlef Sprinz, Ph.D.

Dr Holger Straßheim

Dr Ángela Suárez-Collado

Dr Liam Swiss

Prof. Dr Christian J. Tams

Margret Thalwitz

Dr Peter Thiery

Prof. emerit. Arild Underdal

Dr rer. pol. Winfried Veit

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Prof. Dong Wang

Dr Hung-Jen Wang

Prof. Dr Herbert Wulf

Prof. Dr Dvora Yanow

Dr Fariborz Zelli

Prof. Dr Shirin Zubair