Enlightenment on Trial

Fr05Jul(Jul 5)19:00Mo08(Jul 8)20:00Enlightenment on TrialInternationale Konferenz mit Aleida Assmann, Lorraine Daston, Lea Ypi, Omri Boehm u.a.VeranstaltungsartTagung


Also streamed Live via Zoom. Please register here for
Friday, July 5
Saturday, July 6
Sunday, July 7
Monday, July 8

Conception: Susan Neiman, Potsdam
with Aleida Assmann, Konstanz; David Bell, Princeton; Omri Boehm, New York/Berlin; Lorraine Daston, Berlin; Konstanty Gebert, Warsaw; Stephen Holmes, New York; Daniel Kehlmann, Berlin; Philip Kitcher, New York; Ivan Krastev, Vienna; Claire Messud, Cambridge, Mass.; Fintan O’Toole, Dublin; Diana Pinto, Paris; Lutz Raphael, Trier; Cheryce von Xylander, Lüneburg; Kaveh Yazdani, Storrs; Lea Ypi, London; Benjamin Zachariah, Potsdam

2024 is the 300th anniversary of Immanuel Kant’s birthday. To celebrate the greatest philosopher of the Enlightenment, the Einstein Forum will host a series of events through September. Kicking off our Denkfest is a conference presenting the case against the Enlightenment along with arguments in its defense. The idea of putting the Enlightenment on trial stems from Kant himself. He often wrote of the tribunal of reason, and one of his greatest concerns was the charge that freedom of thought would lead to nihilism. Abandoning the Enlightenment, as so many urge us to do today, means not only abandoning efforts to cultivate our capacities for reason, but also three principles at the core of any progressive worldview: a commitment to universalism over tribalism, a belief in a hard distinction between justice and power, and a belief in the possibility of progress itself.


Friday, July 5

19:00 Susan Neiman: Introduction

19:30 Fintan O’Toole, Dublin
Kant and the Contemporary Public Discourse

20:30 Daniel Kahn, Christian Dawid
»Freedom is a Verb« and other songs

Saturday, July 6

11.00 David A. Bell, Princeton
The Uses and Abuses of Enlightenment

12:30 Aleida Assmann, Konstanz
Can the Enlightenment Enlighten Itself?

13:30 Lunch break

15:00 Lorraine Daston, Berlin
Diversity and Universalism

16:30 Claire Messud, Cambridge, Mass.
Where Did the Time Go?

18:00 Daniel Kahn, Christian Dawid, Stella Morgenstern
Lord of the Air
a musical play based on Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll
Followed by Susan Neiman in conversation with Daniel Kahn and Daniel Kehlmann

Sunday, July 7

11:00 Cheryce von Xylander, Lüneburg
Universalist Dietetics at Odds

12:30 Diana Pinto, Paris
Enlightenment at Last! Unveiling the Kant Statue, Lagos, Nigeria, September 30, 2084 (An iconoclastic exercise in intellectual speculation)

13:30 Lunch break

15:00 Kaveh Yazdani, Storrs
Universalizing the “Rest”: Periodizing Global History and Deprovincializing the West

16:30 Lutz Raphael, Trier
Defending Professional Historical Reasoning with Kant

18:00 Benjamin Zachariah, Potsdam
Enlightenments Lost in the Post

Monday, July 8

11:00 Stephen Holmes, New York
Is Attention to Injustice Inevitably Selective?

12:30 Ivan Krastev, Vienna
Democracy of the “Last Man”: The Politics of Demographic Imagination

13:30 Lunch break

15:00 Konstanty Gebert, Warsaw
Totalitarianism and Genocide: Bastard Children of the Enlightenment?

16:15 Philip Kitcher, New York
Reclaiming Adam Smith

17:30 Lea Ypi, London
Kant on Revolution

18:45 Omri Boehm, New York, Berlin / Daniel Kehlmann, Berlin
„The Starry Heavens above me”
A Dialogue on Kant

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5. Juli 2024 19:00 - 8. Juli 2024 20:00(GMT+02:00)

Einstein Forum

Am Neuen Markt 7, 14467 Potsdam

Einstein Forum