Call for applications: “8th International Summer School in German Philosophy” (Bonn, July 9-20, 2018)

We are happy to announce that a call for applications is now open for the participation to the 8th International Summer School in German Philosophy, that will take place at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn from July 8th to July 20th, 2018. This year’ edition is dedicated to the Issue of Naturalism in Classical German Philosophy.

The deadline for applicants is on April 15th.

Please find below more information about the call and the Summer School, taken from the conference ‘s website.




Keynote Addresses/Visiting Professors:

  • Dr. Stefanie Buchenau (Paris 8)
  • Dr. Joseph Cohen (Dublin)
  • Prof. Dr. Sebastian Gardner (UCL, London)
  • Prof. Dr. Adrian Johnston (New Mexiko)
  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Kern (Leipzig)
  • Prof. Dr. Brian Leiter (Chicago)
  • Prof. Dr. Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins)

Course description:

This year’s international summer school will focus on the issue of naturalism within classical German philosophy. “Naturalism” is a vague concept. As the term is used today it often connotes at least the following (in fact only loosely interrelated) theses: (1) that there are no transcendent objects (e.g. gods or immortal souls); (2) that everything is physical or at least fully describable with the resources of the natural sciences alone; and (3) that human beings are part of the animal kingdom. So understood, “naturalism” was already a central issue in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophy.
In the first week, we will look at various controversies in the 18th century which set the terms of the debate over the prospects of forms of naturalism. The second week will be dedicated to a close reading and reconstruction of Hegel’s philosophy of nature in his mature Encyclopedia. In this context, we will also consult the Schellingian background of Hegel’s philosophy of nature in order to address the issue of naturalism within the overall idealist framework of Hegel that traditionally seemed to be in conflict with the naturalism of his successors.
Many of the most explosive debates of the period revolved around one or more aspects of naturalism, including the debate between the Condillac, Rousseau, Süßmilch, and Herder concerning the origin of language; the debate between Haller and La Mettrie concerning the significance of Haller’s animal experiments on “irritation”; the Pantheism Controversy between Jacobi and Mendelssohn concerning Spinozism; the Atheism Controversy concerning Fichte’s alleged atheism; and the Materialism Controversy that arose in the middle of the nineteenth century. Moreover, virtually all of the major thinkers of the period wrestled with the issue in one way or another, including Kant, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Alexander von Humboldt, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Langer, Helmholtz, and Haeckel.
In the summer school we will look at the German philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the lens of this issue. Specific topics covered within the seminar and by our keynote speakers will include the debate on the origin of language; Kant, Herder, Hegel, and others on human-animal difference; the Haller-La Mettrie debate and the Materialism Controversy; the role of Spinozism in German philosophy; Kant’s anti-naturalist strategies; the philosophy of nature in Schelling, Hegel, and Humboldt; the emergence of philosophical atheism in Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche; and the German contribution to and reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
As always, we will provide all participants with a reader containing the material to be discussed in our seminar meetings and by our keynote speakers.


Please send the following by April 15, 2018 to:

  • CV of no more than 2 pages
  • Statement of intent of no more than 1 page. Please mention in your statement whether you are interested in attending and participating in several seminars on the topic in German, which will be offered should demand warrant.
  • Writing sample of no more than 2,000 words in either English, French or German.

All students must in addition have at least one degree in philosophy.
All texts and discussions will be in English.
The course will be open to a maximum of 40 participants.

ICPH Fellowships:

The International Centre for Philosophy North Rhine-Westphalia will be offering several stipends for foreign graduate students to cover part of their traveling expenses and accommodations. To apply for a stipend, please send a short, separate letter outlining current funding status, financial need and projected travel expenses. Please note that there are no registration or course fees for the summer school.


We will help all participants find accommodation in Bonn (youth hostel, hotel rooms). More information regarding housing will be made available soon. Please contact us at: Participants will be responsible for meals outside official summer school dinners. All usual services (internet and library access, etc.) will be provided.

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