Archive for the ‘Idealisme’ Category.

Bogreception

Bogreception - Plakat-page-001

CfP: Das Problem des Anfangs

I 2016 er SDU vært for årsmødet i det Internationalen Forschungsnetzwerk Transzendentalphilosophie/Deutscher Idealismus (www.a-priori.eu).

Årsmødet finder sted den 18.-20. februar 2016 under temaet “Das Problem des Anfangs” (http://www.a-priori.eu/data/709).

Forskningsnetværket modtager gerne passende bidrag fra alle interesserede på tysk eller engelsk. Se det fulde CfP her (pdf-fil).

For yderligere oplysninger kan man evt. kontakte Jesper Lundsfryd Rasmussen.

Dansk Filosofisk Selskabs Årsmøde 2015

Gode Idealister (og andre)

Den 6.-7. marts 2015 løber Dansk Filosofisk Selskabs årsmøde af stablen i Aarhus. Der vil som sædvanligt være en lang række forskellige sessioner, hvor Selskabets medlemmer har mulighed for at tilmelde foredag.

Kredsens Godfather, Anders Moe Rasmussen, er tovholder for sessionen om “Filosofisk idealisme”, og vil gerne opfordre alle Kredsens medlemmer til at indsende forslag om oplæg på denne session.

Læs mere om årsmødet her og her.

Deadline for tilmelding af foredrag er den 1. februar. Tilmelding af foredrag foregår her.

Grüss Gott og god jul til alle
Generalsekretærens sekretær
Carsten Fogh Nielsen

Call for papers: *Normativity and German Idealism

Normativity and German Idealism: Contemporary Perspectives
26th May 2015
Department of Philosophy University of Sussex

 

The aim of the conference is to examine whether resources drawn from the German Idealist tradition help address important questions about the nature of normativity. As recent work by Christine Korsgaard and Robert Brandom shows this is a fertile territory.

We construe the topic of normativity broadly to include epistemology and theories of meaning, moral and political philosophy, aesthetics, and theories of practical reasoning and action.

We would especially welcome submissions addressing anything from the following non-exhaustive list topics:

  • how we justify to ourselves and to others what is good to do or to believe
  • what are norms and what are reasons
  • modalities of normativity
  • how reasons guide beliefs, actions, values
  • reasons and Reason
  • how does it mean to think of oneself as a rational being
  • normativity and freedom

Please send a 500-700 word anonymised abstract with author details on a separate attachment to normativity.germanidealism@gmail.com
Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 13 February 2015

The organisers wish to thank the Hegel Society of Great Britain and the UK Kant Society for their generous support. Without them this event would not have been possible.

Attendance to the conference is free of charge but registration is required- to register please email normativity.germanidealism@gmail.com
putting ‘registration’ in the subject field and your name in the body of the message.

Informal inquiries: Katerina Deligiorgi (Sussex) K.Deligiorgi@sussex.ac.uk
See too: http://southnorm.wordpress.com/
Organising committee: Sorin Baiasu (Keele and Vienna), Katerina Deligiorgi (Sussex), Manuel Dries (Open University), Andrew Huddleston (London), Edward Kanterian (Kent), Joseph Schear (Oxford)

Dr Katerina Deligiorgi
Arts A 27
Department of Philosophy
School of History, Art History, and Philosophy
University of Sussex
www.sussex.ac.uk/philosophy/people/peoplelists/person/198873

CfA: The Idea of Purposiveness in Kant and German Idealism

Call for Abstracts

THE IDEA OF PURPOSIVENESS IN KANT AND GERMAN IDEALISM

November  28–29, 2014
University of Leuven

Invited speakers:
Stefan Bird-Pollan (University of Kentucky)
James Kreines (Claremont McKenna College)
Gertrudis Van de Vijver (University of Ghent)
Lea Ypi (London School of Economics)

Whereas Descartes, Spinoza and their followers discarded the Aristotelian idea of purposiveness, Kant realized that a purely mechanistic account of the world failed to satisfy the demands of pure reason. Reintroducing the
idea of purposiveness in modern philosophy, he again granted thought the capacity to conceive of a manifold as an organized whole, albeit not without qualifying the idea of purposiveness as merely subjective.

Kant’s various discussions of purposiveness in the Critique of Judgment and other texts have been the subject of much debate. However, much less attention has been paid to the impact of the idea of purposiveness on the development of German Idealism.

In this regard, three elements of Kant’s thought seem to be particularly relevant. First, the idea of purposiveness allowed Kant, in the Critique of Judgment, to conceive of the various parts of his critical philosophy as a unity. Second, this idea can be said to inform his conception of moral self-determination in the Critique of Practical Reason. Third, the idea of purposiveness seems to underlie the account of the human faculties in the Critique of Pure Reason as well as Kant’s conception of a system of pure reason in this work. There is no doubt that Fichte, Schelling and Hegel developed their philosophical systems by drawing on one or more of these elements. It is less clear, however, how exactly they appropriated and modified Kant’s views.

Addressing Kant’s critical philosophy as a whole rather than the third Critique alone, the conference aims to investigate Kant’s multi-faceted conception of purposiveness and, on that basis, trace its further development and transformation in German Idealism.

The conference aims at stimulating fruitful exchanges between established scholars, young researchers, and PhD students. Presentation time will be 30 minutes + 15 minutes for discussion. Abstracts (about 500 words) should be sent in MSWord as attachment to purposiveness2014@kuleuven.be

Abstracts should be prepared for double-blind review by removing any identification details. Name, paper title, institutional position, affiliation and email address should be included in the body of the email.

Submission deadline: August 28, 2014

Notification of acceptance by September 10, 2014.

Please note that the organizers will not be able to provide funding for travel or accommodation.

Organizers: Karin de Boer (Leuven), Gesa Wellmann (Leuven), Henning Tegtmeyer (Leuven), Geert van Eekert (Antwerp), and Gertrudis Van de Vijver (Ghent).

University of Leuven
Institute of Philosophy
Kardinaal Mercierplein 2
3000 Leuven
BELGIUM

Call for Abstracts – NNGI PhD Workshop

Call for Papers

The sixth international conference of the Nordic Network for German Idealism (NNGI), entitled German Idealism Today, will be held October 31st – November 2nd 2011 at Aarhus University, Denmark. 12 internationally renowned scholars (Marcus Gabriel, Sebastian Gardner, Arne Grøn, Rolf-Peter Horstmann, Stephen Houlgate, Axel Hutter, Terry Pinkard, Robert Pippin, Sebastian Rödl, Camilla Serck-Hansen, Günther Zöller and Alenka Zupančič) will be speaking on the philosophers and ideas of the German Idealist tradition.

The conference will also include a PhD workshop intended to stimulate interest in German Idealism among younger scholars and give post-graduate students the opportunity to present their research to a scholarly audience. NNGI thus invites post-graduate students working on topics within the German Idealist tradition to submit an abstract of 200-250 words to the NNGI board. NNGI will accept up to 18 papers.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is June 1, 2011. Announcement of the board’s decision will be made no later than July 1, 2011. Abstracts should be submitted to associate professor Anders Moe Rasmussen, Department of Philosophy, Aarhus University, at the following e-mail address: filamr@hum.au.dk

The abstract should be in .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, or .txt format. Please include the following information in your submission:

(1) Title of paper
(2) 200-250 word abstract
(3) Author’s name
(4) Author’s institutional affiliation
(5) Author’s email address

The abstracts and the papers can be in either German or English. The papers should take no more than 30 minutes to present including discussion and questions.

Please note that NNGI will provide reimbursement for travel and accommodation for all participating students up to a maximum of 5,000 DKK (about 650€). NNGI will also offer assistance with booking accommodation in Aarhus for the duration of the conference.

The conference is sponsored by The Department of Philosophy and the History of Ideas, Aarhus University and Nordforsk.

For more information about NNGI go to www.nngi.org

NNGI Sixth International Conference

Conference-announcement
Nordic Network for German Idealism
Sixth international conference

German Idealism Today

October 31st – November 2nd 2011
Aarhus University, Denmark

Speakers:
Markus Gabriel (Universität Bonn)
Sebastian Gardner (University College London)
Arne Grøn (University of Copenhagen)
Rolf-Peter Horstmann (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Stephen Houlgate (University of Warwick)
Axel Hutter (Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München)
Terry Pinkard (Georgetown University)
Robert Pippin (University of Chicago)
Sebastian Rödl (Universität Basel)
Camilla Serck-Hanssen (University of Oslo)
Günter Zöller (Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München)
Alenka Zupančič (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana)

The conference is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas, Aarhus University and Nordforsk. The conference is aimed at philosophers and other scholars with a philosophical background interested in German Idealist thought. The conference includes a PhD workshop: see the call for papers here.

Further information will be posted in the near future.

Call for Papers: In the Aftermath of German Idealism

In the Aftermath of German Idealism
May 14-15, Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Recht als Kolleg”, Bonn

Keynote speakers:

Markus Gabriel, Universität Bonn, author of Der Mensch im Mythos and Transcendental Ontology (forthcoming by Continuum)
Jean-Christophe Goddard, Université de Toulouse le Mirail, author of  La philosophie fichtéenne de la vie: Le transcendantal et le pathologique
Arnaud François, Université de Toulouse le Mirail, author of Bergson, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche: Volonté et réalité
Sean McGrath, Memorial University of Newfoundland, author of The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious (forthcoming by Routledge)
Devin Shaw, Zane University of Ottawa, author of Freedom and Nature in Schelling’s Philosophy of Art

It is with pleasure we invite you to participate at the following *trilingual* conference, sponsored by EuroPhilosophie (www.europhilosophie.eu) and organized by l’Amicale des étudiants EuroPhilosophie.

Since the philosophical upheaval caused by Kant’s transcendental philosophy, the status of what would later be called “German Idealism” has been anything but clear. On the one hand, the efforts of the major representatives of post-Kantianism only intensified the intrinsic ambiguity of the founding gesture of the tradition. Instead of simply interpreting or expanding Kant, yet all the while attempting to radicalize his original breakthrough, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel developed surprisingly different and opposing systems. On the other hand, the 19th- and 20th-century reception of Hegelianism would have another decisive effect, which would in its own way obfuscate the signification of German Idealism by drastically altering our perception of the tradition as a whole. Not only was Hegel thought to be the culmination of the operative logic of German idealism, which would for a long time prevent us from understanding the works of Fichte and Schelling in and of themselves, but there was also a primordial urge to immanently rethink Hegelian dialectics from the standpoint of historical finitude while being faithful to its fundamentalinsights, arguing for the implicit and irreducible potential still lurking in this movement.

However, the history of German idealism did not in any way end there. In the 20th century we have seen seen a countless number of virulent attacks against “traditional” metaphysics arise as different philosophical schools demanded us to give up “dead” and “outdated” notions like system and totality, German Idealism often being seen the as the epitome of excessive, unbridled reason.

Yet, in the face of these so-called “devastating” critiques, classical German philosophy has not been sentenced to death and banished to the abyssal forgetfulness of a forever lost past. Not only has there been an intense increase of secondary literature in the past decades, but a multitude of contemporary philosophers are returning to this moment in order to develop their own thought.

The status of German Idealism remains more ambiguous and uncertain than ever: even two centuries after its emergence, we find ourselves – still or again –  in the aftermath of German Idealism and feel its effects deep within the internal pulsations of philosophy itself. Therefore, the goal of this conference is to open up an space within which one approach the reception of German Idealism and address its philosophical heritage. The unifying theme will be the following constellation of questions: Why do we constantly go back to German Idealism and cannot simply rid ourselves one and for all of its fundamental concepts? What could German Idealism teach us today? Are there still non-cultivated resources lurking within the thought of Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Schelling? Are we only able to unearth these resources today by passing through their internal and external critiques? Should we take the risk and plunge headfirst into the tradition in attempting to reactualize it?

Please send a short abstract (200-400 words) for a 20-30 minute presentation to be given in English, French or German to Joseph Carew (jstephencarew@gmail.com) *and* Daniel Pucciarelli (arelli@gmail.com) by the 15th of April.

Proposed topics are (*but in no way limited to*):
– The immediate reception of German Idealism (Jacobi, Reinhold, Schulze, Maïmon, Marx, the Schellingian, Feuerbachian, Kierkegaardian, Schopenhauerian or Marxist critique of Hegel)
– The tole of concepts such as “finitude,” “system,” “totality,” “liberty” or “subjectivity” in German Idealism and its reception
– The category of contingence in Schellingian and Hegelian dialectics
– Contemporary rereadings of Hegel (Frankfurt School, Butler, Jameson, Malabou, Nancy, Pippin, Žižek)
– The current resurgence of Schelling (Grant, Gabriel)
– The appropriation of Hegel by representatives of analytical philosophy searching for a new grounding for epistemology (McDowell and Brandom)
– Critique of the notion of history and post-Hegelian philosophies of history
– Contemporary usage of German Idealism in practical philosophy
– Critiques of German Idealism from within different philosophical movements (phenomenology, Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze – and so on unto infinity)
– New interpretations of Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel

Call for Papers: ‘Wahrheit und Methode’ – 50 år

Call for Papers:
Ph.d.-kursus: Wahrheit und Methode – 50 år


Forskningsgruppen for Filosofisk Hermeneutik (PHH) og Nordisk Netværk for Tysk Idealisme (NNGI) ved Aarhus Universitet arrangerer et ph.d.-kursus i anledning af 50 års jubilæet for udgivelsen af Hans-Georg Gadamers Wahrheit und Methode. Dette værk har fået status som hovedværket for den filosofiske hermeneutik. Bogen er blevet til en af de få klassikere indenfor det 20. århundredes filosofi og har haft stor indflydelse også på den kultur- og socialvidenskabelige teoridannelse og den tilsvarende metodologiske refleksion. Kurset sigter på at undervise interesserede ph.d.-studerende fra de nordiske lande i den filosofiske hermeneutik og at vurdere dens aktualitet indenfor udvalgte områder.

Tid: 15.-17. november 2010
Sted: Sandbjerg Gods, Sønderborg (http://www.sandbjerg.dk/)


Kurset vil indeholde to masterclasses om hhv. hermeneutikken og den tyske idealisme (Kristin Gjesdal, Temple University) og hermeneutikken og den filosofiske æstetik (Dorthe Jørgensen, Aarhus Universitet). Derudover vil der være to ph.d.-sektioner, hvor ph.d.-studerende kan fremlægge papers relateret til filosofiske emner indenfor fænomenologi, hermeneutik, filosofisk æstetik og tysk idealisme.

Et foreløbigt program vil se ud som følgende (med forbehold for ændringer):

Mandag, 15. november
15.00-16.00: Ankomst og kaffe
16.00-18.00: Thomas Schwarz Wentzer: 50 år Wahrheit und Methode – filosofisk hermeneutik eller hermeneutisk filosofi?
19.30-21.00: I samtale med Gadamer (TV-foredraget: Die Vielfalt der Sprachen und das Verstehen der Welt)

Tirsdag, 16. november
9.15-12.30: Dorthe Jørgensen: Hermeneutikken og den filosofiske æstetik
14.30-18.00: Ph.d.-sektion 1
19.00: Dinner

Onsdag, 17. november
09.15-12.30: Kristin Gjesdal: Hermeneutikken og den tyske idealisme
14.00-15.30: Ph.d.-sektion 2
15.30: Kaffe
16.00: Afrejse

Interesserede ph.d.-studerende skal indsende et abstract på ca. 500 ord med deadline den 1. oktober 2010. Det endegyldige paper på maks. 4000 ord skal være færdig senest den 7.11.2010 og vil blive distribueret til alle deltagere. Ph.d.-studerende, der vil deltage uden paper, skal regne med at få opgaven som opponent.

Takket være en bevilling fra den nationale forskerskole PHIS er ophold og forplejning formentlig gratis (afhænger af antallet af deltagere). Transportudgifterne refunderes imidlertid ikke.

Tilmelding samt abstract sendes til:

Thomas Schwarz Wentzer, AU (filts@hum.au.dk)
Anders Moe Rasmussen, AU (filamr@hum.au.dk)

Download dette call for paper som Word-dokument her.

NNGI-konference i München

Gestalten des Geistes
Kierkegaard im Kontext des deutschen Idealismus

Nordic Network for German Idealism (NNGI)
Department of Philosophy, Aarhus University
Lehrstuhl für Philosophie II, LMU München

26. – 27. Mai 2010
Tagungsort: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung
Südliches Schlossrondell 23, 80638 München

Mittwoch, 26-05-2010

13.00-13.30: Begrüßung

13.30-15.00: Assistant Professor Kristin Gjesdal (Philosophy Department, Temple University, Philadelphia): “Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard on Individuality, Aestheticism and Bildung

15.00-15.30: Kaffeepause

15.30-17.00: Prof. Dr. Jan Rohls, Fakultät für Evangelische Theologie, Universität München: “Kierkegaards Geistbegriff im Kontext des Idealismus

17.00-17.30: Kaffeepause

17.30-19.00: Professor Arne Grøn (Theologische Fakultät, Universität Kopenhagen): “Gestalten der Verzweiflung als Gestalten des Geistes: Kierkegaards Krankheit zum Tode im Kontext einer Phänomenologie des Geistes

Abendessen (Siemensstiftung)

Donnerstag, 27-05-2010

9.00-10.30: Assistant Professor Henrik Jøker Bjerre (Institut für Philosophie, Universität Aarhus): “Kierkegaard´s Voice: The Surplus of Writing as an Obstruction to Systematic Philosophy

10.30-11.00: Kaffeepause

11.00-12.30: Dr. Omri Boehm, Department of Philosophy, Yale University, derzeit Research Fellow am Lehrstuhl für Philosophie II in München: “Reason, Faith and Disobedience: The Binding of Isaac and the Function of the Biblical Text in Kierkegaard and Kant

12.30-13.30: Mittagessen (Siemensstiftung)

13.30-15.00: Prof. Dr. Axel Hutter, Fakultät für Philosophie, Universität München: “Negativismus

15.00-15.30: Kaffeepause

15.30-17.00: Associate Professor Anders Moe Rasmussen (Institut für Philosophie, Universität Aarhus): “Glaube und Offenbarung: Kierkegaard zwischen Jacobi und Schelling

17.00-17.30: Kaffeepause

17.30-19.00: Associate Professor Jon Stewart (Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, Universität Kopenhagen): “Kierkegaard und Hegel: Die Frage von Glauben und Wissen

Teilnahme an der Tagung ist kostenlos. Für die Teilnahme an der Tagung ist aber eine Anmeldung erforderlich:
Lehrstuhl für Philosophie II
Sekretariat, Tel. 089 / 2180-2488
kristina.maschek@lrz.uni-muenchen.de

Call for papers

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Spirit of German Idealism

In the period from 2009 – 2011 the Nordic Network for German Idealism (www.NNGI.org) is organizing various conferences and workshops for researchers and post-graduate students with interest and expertise in the vast and varied field of philosophy, which takes the philosophies of Kant, Fichte Schelling, Hegel and Kierkegaard as its most crucial point of reference.

The third session will be from the 26th to the 28th of May 2010 at the Siemens Stiftung in Munich, Germany. It is a joint venture between the Department of Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, the Department of Philosophy at Aarhus University and the NNGI. At the third session there will be a conference on the 26th and 27th with invited speakers (see the program here) and a workshop for students (primarily at the PhD.-level) on the 28th.

The papers for the workshop are not restricted with regards to theme, but they should discuss or deal with the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel or Kierkegaard. Since the general theme for work within the NNGI is Spirit (Geist), we particularly welcome papers that deal with this theme. They may be historically oriented or deal with systematic issues as the authors see fit.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 15th 2010.

Abstracts should be submitted to the following e-mail address: filamr@hum.au.dk

Practical issues:
The NNGI will provide funding for travel reimbursement and accommodation during the conference for all participating students up to a maximum of 5000 DKR (about 660 EURO). There is a maximum of 15 participating PhD-students. There will be lunch provided for all participants and an optional conference dinner. More information to come in this regard.

Download a PDF-version of the call for papers here.

NNGI – Call for Papers

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Spirit of German Idealism

In the period from 2009 – 2011 the Nordic Network for German Idealism (www.NNGI.org) is arrang-ing various conferences and workshops for researchers and post-graduate students with interest and expertise in the vast and varied field of philosophy, which takes the philosophies of Kant, Fichte Schelling, Hegel and Kierkegaard as its most crucial point of reference.

The third session will be from the 26th to the 28th of May 2010 at the Siemens Stiftung in Mu-nich, Germany. It is a joint venture between the Department of Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, the Department of Philosophy at Aarhus University and the NNGI. At the third session there will be a conference on the 26th and 27th with invited speakers and a workshop for students (primarily at the PhD.-level) on the 28th.

The papers for the workshop are not restricted with regards to theme, but they should discuss or deal with the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel or Kierkegaard. Since the general theme for work within the NNGI is Spirit (Geist), we particularly welcome papers that deal with this theme. They may be historically oriented or deal with systematic issues as the authors see fit.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 15th 2010.

Abstracts should be submitted to the following e-mail address: filamr@hum.au.dk

Practical issues:
The NNGI will provide funding for travel reimbursement and accommodation during the conference for all participating students up to a maximum of 5000 DKR (about 660EURO). There is a maximum of 15 participating PhD-students. There will be lunch provided for all participants and an optional conference dinner. More information to come in this regard.

Download a PDF-version of the call for papers here.

Call for Papers – German Idealism and religion

2010 ISRLC Conference, University of Oxford

Abstracts are now being sought for a panel on German Idealism at the 2010 International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture conference taking place at the University of Oxford next September on the topic, “Attending to the Other: Critical Theory and Spiritual Practice”.

German Idealism and Religion Panel

Our contemporary preoccupations with self/other relations can be traced back directly to the German Idealist dialectic of Same and Other. The task of this panel will be to uncover critical theory’s presuppositions and prejudices on this topic by excavating their philosophical and theological origins in German Idealism. Questions that may be considered include: To what extent does Hegel’s master-slave dialectic still determine how we conceive the other? Did Kantian phenomenalism foreclose the possibility of experiencing otherness? Is Hölderlin’s expectant anticipation of the coming god an appropriate manner in which to attend to the other? The panel welcomes papers that focus not just on German Idealism narrowly considered (Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel), but also the various theologies, romanticisms and materialisms which emerged out of it in the first half of the nineteenth century, as well as its legacy in contemporary critical and religious theories.

Deadline: March 30, 2010.

Please see the conference website: www.theology.ox.ac.uk/ISRLC for more details on submitting abstracts and the call for papers for other panels running at the conference (including critical theory and continental philosophy of religion).

Sensation: Zizek i Kredsen!!

Via mere eller mindre lyssky kontakter og hårdt fodarbejde af visse af Generalsekretariatets medlemmer er det lykkedes at overtale den verdensberømte slovenske filosof mm. Slavoj Zizek til at give et foredrag for Kredsens medlemmer.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK
“Kant and Hegel and the antinomies”

Mødesal 1
Studenternes Hus
Frederik Nielsens vej
Fredag den 15. august kl. 13-16

Mød op og få Sandheden forklaret af Mesteren selv. 

Alle er velkomne.

Gode nyheder!

Det meddeles netop nu, at Nordforsk har oplyst, at forskningen i tysk idealisme i de nordiske lande over de næste tre år vil blive støttet med godt og vel en million kroner.

Med andre ord: Ansøgningen om støtte til etableringen af et fællesnordisk netværk for tysk idealisme, som Anders Moe Rasmussen og Rasmus Ugilt er hovedmænd bag, er gået igennem.

Her fra bloggen skal der lyde et stort hurra. NU skal der sgu forskes!  😀

“Is this madness or is it German Idealism?”

(Et længere, lettere patetisk, indlæg, for at få skudt bloggen i gang).

I en kommentar til et tidligere indlæg henviste jeg til en artikel i det seneste nummer af British Journal of Dermatology, hvor en vis Sam Schuster (fra “Department of Dermatology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital”) argumenterer for, at Marx ikke, som man hidtil har troet, var plaget af bylder (jvf. f.eks. Francis Wheens meget roste Marx-biografi fra 1999). Ud fra studier af Marx’ korrespondance med Jenny Marx, Friedrich Engels og Ludwig Kugelman mener Schuster derimod at kunne konstatere, at Marx snarere led af Hidradenitis Suppurativa, en kronisk og efter alt at dømme ret ubehagelig hudsygdom.

Schuster afslutter sin artikel med et provokerende spørgsmål: Kunne det tænkes, at Marx’ filosofiske arbejde er påvirket, måske endog til en vis grad bestemt, af hans sygdom? Kunne det f.eks. tænkes, at Marx’ begreb om fremmedgørelse ikke udsprang af hans læsning af og opgør med Hegel, men derimod havde sin rod i den selvlede og utilfredshed med sin egen krop og fysik, som Marx’ hudproblemer efter alt at dømme medførte?

At filosofiske ideers opståen (i det mindste delvist) kan forklares ud fra og ved hjælp af et nøje kendskab til konkrete filosoffers livshistorie, de sociale og kulturelle betingelser hvorunder de levede og andre empiriske forhold er ikke nogen ny ide, og må vel tilkendes en vis plausibilitet. Filosoffer er ikke monader; selvberoende enheder der ikke påvirkes af noget som helst udefrakommende. Filosoffer er mennesker, og mennesker påvirkes og formes af deres omgivelser.

Mere problematisk er derimod tanken om, at hvis man kan forklare hvorfor en bestemt filosof er kommet på en bestemt idé, så har man dermed også forklaret ideens gyldighed – eller mangel på samme. Et eksempel på denne måde at argumentere på, kan man finde hos en af Nyhedsavisens bloggere, der, efter at have læst Schusters artikel, når frem til, at det ikke er “…svært at forstå at venstrefløjen fremstår aldeles psykisk syge når de kolporterer Marx’s komplekser og mentalt ustabile idéer og tabermentalitet fra “Das Kapital” lige ind i hjernen og lægger os andre for had, når vi afviser dem.”*

Argumentet her er forholdsvist enkelt: Hvis Marx’ hudsygdom virkeligt spillede en afgørende rolle for udviklingen Marx’ politiske og filosofiske teorier, så har disse idéer ikke noget større krav på gyldighed; de er jo blot et tilfældigt produkt af en stakkels forpint mands sygdomsinducerede fantasier.

Samme type argumentation er også blevet brugt til at forklare – og dermed bortforklare – andre filosoffers idéer. I Das Andere der Vernunft forsøger Hartmut og Gernot Böhme således (på god (pseudo-)Freudiansk vis), at forklare Kants filosofiske udvikling ud fra dels hans opvækst i et stærkt pietistisk hjem, og dels hans (efter alt at dømme) tætte forhold til sin mor. Førstnævnte strategi – at henvise til Kants pietistiske baggrund som en forklaring på hans filosofiske idéer – anvendes også af Alasdair MacIntyre i hans berømte (og blandt os kantianere berygtede) diskussion af Kants moralfilosofi i After Virtue. Og på en konference forrige år på Center for Subjektivitetsforskning (Subjectivity, Intersubjectivity, Objectivity) gav Louis Sass et glimrende eksempel på netop denne måde at gå til filosofien og filosofiske ideer på. Ved at sammenligne den psykisk ustabile østrigske forfatter og (måske) filosof Otto Weiningers skrifter med (en tegneserieversion af)** den tyske idealismes ideer og tanker, mente Sass at kunne spore så store sammenfald, at hvis Weininger var psykisk syg, så måtte det samme siges om store dele af den tyske filosofi. Som Sass udtrykte det, så havde han flere gange under sin læsning af Weininger grebet sig selv i at spørge “Is this madness or is it German Idealism?

Med begreber lånt fra videnskabsteorien kan man sige, at problemet med denne tilgang til filosofiske idéer og spørgsmål er, at den sammenblander context of discovery (de involveredes filosoffers eventuelle psykologiske tilstand) og context of justification (de begrundelser der kan eller ikke kan gives for en given filosofisk idé). Man tror, at hvis man kan give en (psykologisk eller biografisk) forklaring på, at en given filosof udviklede en given idé, så har man dermed også sagt alt, hvad der er at sige om idéens gyldighed.

Men det er (selvfølgeligt) ikke rigtigt. Selv hvis man viste, at samtlige de store tyske idealistiske tænkere (Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) vitterligt havde alvorlige psykologiske problemer, og derudover kunne bevise at disse problemer i væsentligt omfang influerede deres måde at filosofere på, så ville man dermed endnu ikke have afgjort spørgsmålet om, hvorvidt den tyske idealismes idéer og idealer er gyldige eller værd at beskæftige sig seriøst med. Dette kan kun vises ved – ja, ved at beskæftige sig seriøst med den tyske idealisme.

At ville forklare en filosofisk teoris eller idés gyldighed med henvisning til dens ophavsmands psykologiske sindstilstand bliver som oftest (hvilket alle de ovennævnte eksempler illustrerer) en undskyldning for ikke at beskæftige sig seriøst med teoriens eller idéens indhold; dens substans. Fordi man på forhånd har afgjort teoriens værdi og gyldighed ved at betragte den som (og dermed reducere den til) en tilfældig effekt af mere eller mindre arbitrære og kontingente psykologiske og/eller fysiologiske processer, så behøver man ikke gå i dybden med den eller for alvor forsøge at forstå, hvad den implicerer. Man kan i stedet nøjes med en overfladisk og forsimplet forståelse af teorien, som (selvfølgelig) bekræfter ens oprindelige negative vurdering af dens relevans og værdi.

Og her burde der så være en velformuleret konklusion, som præcist opsummerede hele den foregående argumentation med et humoristisk twist som satte hele problemstillingen i et nyt og klarere lys. På den anden side, så kan man også bare nøjes med at konstatere, at det ovenstående vel rummer en udmærket begrundelse for at have noget sådant som en Idealismekreds. Nogen da for pokker gøre et seriøst forsøge på at finde ud af, hvad Hegel, Fichte, Schelling og alle de andre egentlig mente. Ellers ender vi med Louis Sass og forestillingen om, at der nok, i bund og grund, ikke er den store forskel på galskab og idealisme – og det kan filosofien ikke være tjent med.

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* Tak til Jon Boiesen for at have gjort mig opmærksom på både Schusters artikel og Nyhedsavisbloggerens udlægning af samme.

** Eller Coplestons version af den tyske idealisme i det mindste. Sass’ fremstilling og forståelse af den tyske idealismes projekt og idéer var (indrømmede han selv) næsten ordret hentet fra bind VII af A History of Philosophy.