In the Aftermath of German Idealism

Posted by | Chris | 16.3.11 | 1 Comment

An interesting looking conference and a call for papers (I'm thinking of you Zach, Alex and Tobias):

In the Aftermath of German Idealism
May 14-15, Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Recht als Kultur", Bonn,
in cooperation with the Bergische Universität Wuppertal

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
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 Zane Shaw, 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 conference, sponsored by EuroPhilosophie ( 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 fundamental insights, 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 are still in the wake 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 radicalize 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[at] and Daniel Pucciarelli (arelli[at] by the 6th 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