Thursday, 23 March 2017

Charles Taylor, famous philosopher and social theorist, in Erfurt

Charles Taylor, Canada, one of the pioneers of communitarianism, will hold two one-day international workshops at the Max Weber College of the University of Erfurt in May 2017. On 2 May (‘Resonance, Romanticism and Critical Theory’) is concerned with the question of the extent to which romantic thinking can be critically opposed to accelerated modernism. Is romantic thinking merely a longing for the past, or is it a criticism moving forward, so that critical theories can still learn from it today? At the first event, Prof. Hartmut Rosa, whose award-winning book Resonance - A Sociology of World Relations (2016), is regarded by some critics as a romantic work, as well as members of the Graduate College, Jena University, ‘Modellromantik’ will be present. In the follow-up workshop on 11 May the linguistic roots of Taylor's The Language Animal, on which Taylor is currently working, will be discussed with regards to the linguistic foundations of a romantic ‘criticism’. The question will be asked: What exactly is poetry in romanticism? What is the understanding of language, and how has both post-romantic poetry and philosophy influenced it? Is it merely a subjective longing, or are dimensions of reality surface in a too rationalized world view and a purely instrumental world relationship which reveals that the world must not look cold and silent? But how can these dimensions be retrieved philosophically today without being an esoteric or subjective endeavour?

Christoph Henning, one of the organizers of the workshops, says about the significance of the workshops in the Max Weber program's research program: ‘Normativity, which is often the basis of social criticism, mostly relies on evidence of the participants’ daily lives. If one asks, however, for the sources of these evidence-based phenomena, often aesthetic phenomena play an important role, too. If one wants to scrutinize social criticism, one has to question these so-called daily experiences: are they sufficient to not only stipulate, but also give reason for criticism? How would one need to specify such aesthetic or romantic criticism? Charles Taylor's extensive work on the history of ethical thinking since the modern age, as well as on theories of action and language, invites the reader to take a closer look at more recent approaches such as those of Hartmut Rosa.’

The workshops are both held at the Max-Weber-Kolleg. The number of participants is limited, and interested parties are asked to register with Christoph Henning (

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