Affiliation: Free University Berlin, DE

Keywords: Private & economic law; Comparative & global law; Law & philosophy, Sociology, Economics, IT, AI


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Bertram studied law, philosophy, sociology and economics in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Cambridge, Paris, Vienna and Rome. He is currently a professor of law at Free University Berlin and co-founder of the Free University Empirical Legal Studies Center (FUELS). Bertram held visiting positions at and fellowships from Sciences Po Paris, Columbia University, Harvard University and Humboldt University Berlin. In his work, Bertram is searching for the social grammar of society, i.e. basic normative structures and judgements and what role law plays within the self-organization of society. He developed a comprehensive structure of basic values for practical argumentation, a formal coding of deep normative balancing within legal reasoning and a judicial decision theory including emotions and reasons. From that genuine theoretical perspective, he focuses on social effects and normative design of private law institutions like contract, (intellectual) property, debt or corporations and tries to reveal their deliberative democratic potential. Bertram is strongly interested in working at cross-disciplinary boundaries and employing approaches that bridge different fields and mind sets. In his actual ERC starting grant project “Resolvency – A Global Theory of Reflexive Debt (Deliberation)”, he strives with economists and political scientists for a rethinking of the concept of debt as a more sustainable socio-economic medium. In an upcoming cooperation with computer and cognitive scientists, he works on the vision of “reasonable machines”, i.e. the ability of artificial intelligent systems to give and take (communicate) practical reasons.