Philosophy is not intrinsically confined to certain subjects, methods or basic terms. It has however always made critical contributions to subjects of general cultural and scholarly discourse as well as the methods and basic terms of other disciplines. In view of the importance of this supportive critical reflection, which also includes enhancing historical awareness, the Foundation supports philosophy in its entire breadth. No priority is assigned to certain fields of work or approaches – nor, say, to moral philosophy as opposed to  the philosophy of mind, historical versus systematic works, or problems of a fundamental theoretical nature over applied ones, or to formal versus verbal methods of argumentation. Such categories make good sense. They can however harm the discipline if they lead to schisms in the discourse. The same applies to the borders between philosophy and other disciplines with which it shares subjects and problems. Some borderlines, often even institutionalised ones, are not based on any logical division of academic labour, but are instead the result of terminological estrangement, of mainstream-based publication cultures and the constraints of well-trodden career paths.

Barriers have recently become more permeable with respect to the cognitive sciences, having an impact on the philosophy of mind in particular, but also beyond. In the field of moral philosophy, there have always been connections with adjoining normative and empirical sciences in certain applied projects. Basic theoretical cleavages, however, persist with a long-term horizon. Contributions continue to be influenced by welfarism and decision theory or  the philosophy-of-law tradition, and by respective terminologies. This reflects deep-rooted difficulties in  reconciling normative thinking in economics and in jurisprudence .

The Foundation especially welcomes projects which, regardless of their field, work to reduce unjustifiable barriers to discourse within or between disciplines, be it by exploring the roots of these barriers and their consequences, by translating between fields or disciplines, or by correcting sweeping judgements. This is where junior scholars, being less set on a particular perspective, can play a special role as long as their work is based on their own detailed readings. The Fritz Thyssen Foundation leaves it up to applicants to take the initiative in selecting specific topics in the broad field of philosophy. The Foundation’s intention is to preserve and uphold the traditional strengths of this discipline - its openness, its scope on fundamental questions, its critical faculties and the originality of its contributions.