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Dr. David Lanius

Dr. David Lanius

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Raum: CS
Tel.: +49 721 608-48832
david laniusAyp7∂kit edu

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Institut für Philosophie
Geb. 09.20
Douglasstraße 24
76133 Karlsruhe


The rise of populism threatens democracy in Western societies. But most people who vote for populist parties do so not because they agree with their programs and ideologies. They vote for them because they are disappointed with politics. Populism might simply be a symptom of the social divide in our societies and the lack of inclusive debate. I strongly believe that argumentation and debate are the best means to solve conflicts, to coordinate (doxastic) differences, and to bridge the gap between people with different interests and convictions.

My aim is to strengthen both deliberative and participatory democracy by uncovering the conditions for constructive conflict. How can the quality of public debates be improved? I work at DebateLab with Gregor Betz to answer this question.

I'm a member of the European Network for Argumentation and Public Policy Analysis (APPLY: Cost Action 17132), trying to improve the way European citizens understand, evaluate and contribute to public debate and political decision-making. Also, I'm running the Forum für Streitkultur with Romy Jaster to practically improve the standards of discourse in Germany. Finally, I'm member of  DFG's Arguing in the School network organised by David Löwenstein.

At the moment I'm analyzing arguments used by and against right-wing populist movements in Europe. I am especially interested in the use of fake news and “alternative facts” within populist arguments as well as the effectiveness of rational argumentation in general.

Areas of expertise

Philosophy of language, philosophy of law, logic, argumentation theory, decision and game theory, as well as philosophical, psychological, legal, and logical aspects of indeterminacy

Areas of interest (non-exclusive)

Linguistics, psychology, political philosophy, moral philosophy, and epistemology

Selected Publications

  • Jaster, Romy & David Lanius (forthcoming): "Schlechte Nachrichten: Fake News in Politik und Öffentlichkeit" in Ralf Hohlfeld et al. (eds.): Fake News und Desinformation: Herausforderungen für die vernetzte Gesellschaft und die empirische Forschung, Baden-Baden: Nomos.
  • Betz, Gregor & David Lanius (forthcoming): "Philosophy of science for science communication in twenty-two questions" in Annette Leßmöllmann et al. (eds.): Science Communication, Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Lanius, David (2019): Strategic Indeterminacy in the Law, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Jaster, Romy & David Lanius (2019): Die Wahrheit schafft sich ab. Wie Fake News Politik machen, Ditzingen: Reclam.
  • Jaster, Romy & David Lanius (2018): "What Is Fake News?", Versus 2 (127):207-227. [link]
  • Lanius, David (2017): Wie Argumentieren Rechtspopulisten? Eine Argumentationsanalyse des AfD-Wahlprogramms, ITZ: Diskussionspapiere.
  • Lanius, David (2013): “Has Vagueness Really No Function in Law?“ in M. Hoeltje, T. Spitzley, and W. Spohn (eds.): Proceedings of GAP.2012. [link]
  • Lanius, David (2011): "Vagueness and Unforeseeability. A Game Theoretical Approach", Thesis, Institute of Logic, Language, and Computation, Universiteit van Amsterdam. [link]
  • Lanius, David (2010): "Warum Vagheit nicht Unwissen ist. Eine kritische Analyse der epistemischen Theorie", Magisterarbeit, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. [link]

Short CV

2017 – today

PostDoc at DebateLab at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with Gregor Betz and Michael Schefzcyk



Fellowship at Weizenbaum Institute in the project "News, Campaigns and the Rationality of Public Discourse" with Ulrike Klinger


2012 – 2017

PhD at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in the research project “Dealing Reasonably with Blurred Boundaries” under the supervision of Geert Keil and Ralf Poscher (summa cum laude)



Fellowship at University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles with Andrei Marmor


2010 – 2011

Logic Year at Institute of Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA)


2007 – 2010

Magister Philosophiae (MPhil) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich (with distinction)


2008 – 2009

Research year at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)


2005 – 2007

Basic studies of Magister Artium (MA) in philosophy and economics at Universität Regensburg