Friday, 17 November 2017

Christoph Hennig presents a working paper on "Materiality and Experience in Creative Labour: A Pragmatistic Interpretation of Interviews with Artists and Designers"

In an interdisciplinary research project at the University of St. Gallen („Creativity as a Vocation", 2013/14) we conducted 20 interviews with local artists and designers. Our aim was to analyse these interviews both from the perspective of sociology and philosophy. This, however, proved more difficult then expected, not least because a philosophical analysis of qualitative sociologicla data is a methodological innovation, not always well received by established traditions, and not to be achieved so easily. In this paper, which I did not have the time to translate unfortunately, I use some ideas from the field of „New Materialism" and Latours „Actor-Network-Theory" in order to interpret sections of these interviews in a new way. This also leads me to discuss Harmut Rosa`s ideas about art in his book on resonance (2016).

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Roman Madzia is going to present a working paper on "Only a Life Can Understand Life: Dilthey and Dewey on the Inevitability of the Aesthetic"

The paper deals with philosophical foundations of Dilthey's philosophy of life and Dewey's insights on qualitative thought. In the first part, the author focuses on the projects of both Dilthey and Dewey of establishing what one could call a "new science of experience". By this endeavor, both thinkers (each in his own manner) reacted to the undeniable progress of natural science of the late 19th century which jeopardized the status of social sciences (or Geisteswissenschaften in Dilthey's rendition). After a short analysis of similarities and differences between their respective approaches, the author focuses more closely on Dilthey and explains the fundamental concepts of his Lebensphilosophie (such as the principle of phenomenality, reflexive awareness, structural nexus of life, etc.) and tries to demonstrate why they took the form they did. In the last part of the paper, the author elucidates Dilthey's reformulation of certain life-categories, previously known from Kant, and makes a connection to certain aspects of contemporary philosophy of biology.

Alexander Jordan gives a working paper on "The Legacy of “Centre” Hegelianism in German Thought, c. 1830 - 1880"

Following the death of Hegel (1770-1831), his followers split into factions. The "Left" has attracted huge attention, due to the assumption that Hegelianism led inevitably to "Left" Hegelianism, and "Left" Hegelianism to Marxism. In contrast, there is very little on the "Centre". This is remarkable, given that the "Left" soon collapsed, whereas the "Centre" continued to exist as a coherent movement for decades. Unlike the revolutionary "Left", the "Centre" Hegelians remained optimistic about Prussia becoming what Hegel called a "Vernunftstaat" (rational state), led by an enlightened civil service, dedicated to the public good. Thus, the "Left" Hegelian emphasis on negativity, critique, and revolution (culminating in Marxism) was not the only possible outcome of Hegel's thought. The current paper offers an initial outline of the project, including a few hypotheses and points for discussion.

Andrés Quero-Sánchez presents a working paper on "Nietzsche’s loneliness as metaphysical core principle"

Nietzsche’s loneliness is not primarily to be understood as a psychological  phenomenon, but as a metaphysical one,  namely as his request to become a really unique and singular individual. A few decades later, Martin Heidegger  will use the German neologism ‚Jemeinigkeit‘ to express such an aspect.  Nietzsche’s loneliness is connected with his request for immoralism as well as with his critique of idealistic metaphysics.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Claudia D. Bergmann is going to present a working paper on "Full Belly vs. Starving Body: Ritual Reversal and the Human Body in Biblical and Early Jewish Texts”

Aspects of imagined ritual reversal in regard to ancient ideas about eating are the topic of this paper. It will particularly focus on the opposition of satisfied and starving human bodies both in early Jewish texts that deal with this world and in texts that discuss circumstances in the World to Come. The aim is to apply both the ritual theories that might be applied to these texts and investigate the human characteristics that, according to the texts discussed, would lead human bodies either to starvation or satisfaction. Finally, the question will be ask whether the texts view this world or the World to Come as the mundus inversus, the world where the usual laws and norms are (temporarily) out of order.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Amrita Mondal gives a working paper on "Promise of the State: Execution of Acts and Policies"

The second chapter ‘Promise of the State’ postulates the distinctiveness of categories, ‘land’ and ‘soil’, by explicating functional and non-functional dimension of land. For doing so this chapter will engage in describing the transition in political ethos during 2009-2011 in Bengal when the 34-year long Left-Front Government of West Bengal led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) lost its power to Trinamool Congress, discuss the functional aspect of land through the social policies and executions of them in the local level and arrive at a gendered analysis of Government officials’ interaction with the people in the village.

The present paper provides a narrative of the context of the farmers’ protest against the state government’s (farm)land acquisition policy and how the opposition (Trinamool Congress) engages and mobilizes a substantial rural population under its banner for anti-government public protest. To understand how Trinamool Congress successfully launched a movement that eventually led to its historic victory to assume the role of governing party for the first time in 2011 we need to critically examine how its primary political agenda pegged the functionality of land with the rolling out of several land related social policies for rural development as a promise of pro-poor growth. Moreover, this section gives a detail explanation of land owning mechanisms that women must comprehend to effectively access land. Thus, dynamics of women’s interaction with the bureaucracy becomes essential factor determining the efficacies of policies concerned. Section 3 of Chapter 2 will delve into this aspect.  

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Cornel Zwierlein receives Heisenberg scholarship from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

The current Fellow of the Max Weber Center for Cultural and Social Studies of the University of Erfurt, Prof. Dr. Cornel Zwierlein, has received a Heisenberg scholarship for his research project "Close Distance. A knowledge history of European merchant colonies in the Levant, 17.-19. Century". The Heisenberg program is granted to scientists who already fulfill all the prerequisites to be appointed to a permanent professorship, in order to carry out their top-class projects.
Merchant colonies of pre-modern trading empires were not only the central network nodal points for economic import and export flows of goods and values, they were also cultural and epistemic units of their own kind. In the last decades the research concerning large parts of the Levant trade and local (west) European actors has been neglected.  This includes their characteristic, epistemic and cultural functions, communication and representative performance. Based on this observation the project seeks, from a historical perspective, to contribute to fundamental research for the actors, especially English, French, and the comparative outlook for the Italian and Dutch merchant colonies in the Levant from the 17th to the early 19th century in this respect.
The project, which Zwierlein is working on at the Max Weber Kolleg, closely follows this project. He works on early forms of religious studies, which were embedded in the exchange of the network of Mediterranean consuls and merchant colonies of France, England and the missionaries and societies of Europe such as the Royal Society and the Académie des sciences. In particular, for the preparatory smaller case study, he focuses on an important Greek orthodoxy and Eastern Church researcher in France around 1700, Eusèbe Renaudot, who also supported English Catholics as a spy and, succeeding his grandfather, publisher of France's oldest national newspaper, the Gazette de France was.
"We are happy about the success of  Prof. Dr.  Zwierlein in the recruitment of this prestigious scholarship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which will enable him to profile for his further scientific career. We wish him all the best for his work following his research stay at the Max Weber Kollege, which fortunately will continue until March 2018, "said Professor Hartmut Rosa, the director of the Max Weber Kolleg.