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S. (Stephan) Schleim, Dr

Associate Professor

Stephan Schleim is Associate Professor for Theory and History of Psychology at the Heymans Institute for Psychological Research. In 2012/2013 he was Full Professor for Neurophilosophy at the Ludwig Maximilians University München, Germany. With a background in philosophy, psychology, and computer science (M.A., 2005) and a PhD in cognitive science (2009; Barbara Wengeler dissertation award 2010, EUR 10,000), his research is naturally interdisciplinary: Schleim collaborated with researchers from twenty-five (sub-) disciplines and focuses primarily on the philosophy of psychology and neuroscience as well as on science communication.

Stephan Schleim is also a public expert interviewed regularly about the meaning and wider implications of neuroscience research (e.g. Nature News, De Volkskrant, Die Zeit). He writes in English, Dutch, and German with translations into Finnish, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Please visit his website for more information:

Selected Publications:

Schleim, S. (2021). Gehirn, Psyche und Gesellschaft: Schlaglichter aus den Wissenschaften vom Menschen. Heidelberg: Springer. (A German collection of essays on brain, mind, and society.)

Schleim, S. (2020). Neuroenhancement as Instrumental Drug Use: Putting the Debate in a Different Frame. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 567497. (A new perspective on the neuroenhancement debate including research on druge use.)

Schleim, S. (2020). Real Neurolaw in the Netherlands: The Role of the Developing Brain in the New Adolescent Criminal Law. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1762. (A shorter, updated and English paper on the neuroscientific basis of the adolescent criminal law in the Netherlands.)

Schleim, S. (2019). 'Neurorecht' in Nederland: De motivering van het nieuwe adolescentenstrafrecht vanuit een neurofilosofisch perspectief. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte, 111, 379-404. (A critical analysis of the 'adolescent brain' and the legal implications drawn from that concept in the Netherlands.)

Schleim, S. & Quednow, B.B. (2018). How realistic are the scientific assumptions of the neuroenhancement debate? Assessing the pharmacological optimism and neuroenhancement prevalence hypotheses. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 3. (An analysis of the history of the cognitive enhancement debate and some of its basic assumptions.)

Schleim, S. (2015). When Empathy Became a Brain Function: A Neurophilosophical Case Study. Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences (Special Issue on Empathy), 2, 41-62. (An example of how I understand neurophilosophy, also meant for didactic purposes.)

Section editor of the section on Moral Cognition in the Handbook of Neuroethics including my own peer-reviewed contribution: Schleim, S. (2015). The half-life of the moral dilemma task – a case study in experimental (neuro-) philosophy. In: J. Clausen & N. Levy (eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics, pp. 185-199. Springer, Berlin. (My own review of the original neuroscience research on moral decision-making, ten years after starting with my own research on that subject.)

Schleim, S. (2014). Critical Neuroscience – or Critical Science? A Perspective on the Perceived Normative Significance of Neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Research Topic: Critical Neuroscience), 8, 336. (A critical analysis of the claims on the putatively far-reaching implications of neuroscience in the context of the recent critique of the scientific publication system.)

Schleim, S. (2012). Brains in Context in the Neurolaw Debate: The Examples of Free Will and “Dangerous” Brains. International Journal for Law and Psychiatry, 35, 104-111. (My own favourite paper on neurolaw, based on my previous book on the neurosociety. Also one of the most cited articles of that journal.)

Schleim, S. (2011). Die Neurogesellschaft – Wie die Hirnforschung Recht und Moral herausfordert [The Neurosociety – How neuroscience challenges law and morals] Heise Verlag, Hannover. (My second, German book on neuroscience and its social implications.)

Schleim S., Spranger T. M., Erk, S. & Walter, H. (2011). From moral to legal judgment: The influence of normative context in lawyers and other academics. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 48-57. (The major publication from my PhD research on moral decision-making. I think that we were the first group to investigate real lawyers in an fMRI scanner.)

Schleim, S. & Roiser, J. P. (2009). fMRI in translation: the challenges facing real-world applications. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 3, 63. (Some early thoughts on the challenges we face when trying to apply fMRI and other neuroimaging technology in practical contexts. Also my most frequently cited paper.)

Selected Research Projects:

The History of Neuroethics, 2016-2021
Dutch Research Foundation NWO. EUR 250,000, role: principal investigator. Further details to be announced.

Intuition and Emotion in Moral Decision-Making: Empirical Research and Normative Implications, 2010-2015
VolkswagenFoundation. EUR ~500,000 overall, role: principal investigator.

An interdisciplinary research project with a social psychologist from the University of Cologne and a philosopher at the University of Oxford that fostered 29 new publications including the dissertation of Schleim’s PhD student Felix Schirmann that was awarded the Praemium Erasmianum price (EUR 10,000) in 2015.

Neuroscience in Context, 2007-2010
VolkswagenFoundation. EUR 135,000, role: co-applicant.

An early chance to collaborate with other young scholars from cognitive science, neuroscience, and philosophy that allowed the attendance on international conferences in America and Asia as well as the organisation of workshops with international experts.

Photograph: Elsbeth Hoekstra Photography, Groningen

Last modified:25 June 2022 12.38 p.m.