International Conference: “Recovering Nature: forgotten concepts, new theories, classical approaches” (Potsdam, 26-28 June 2024)

International Conference: "Recovering Nature: forgotten concepts, new theories, classical approaches" (Potsdam, 26-28 June 2024)

We are glad to give notice of the International Conference Recovering Nature: forgotten concepts, new theories, classical approaches, which will find place on June 26th-28th, 2024, at the University of Potsdam (Neuen Palais 10).
The conference is organized by Karen Koch (Universität Basel), Anton Kabeshkin (University of Potsdam) and Luca Corti (Università degli Studi di Padova)


Below you can find the description and the program of the conference.


The idea of the conference is to bring together scholars who can shed light on the philosophy of nature in the epoch between XVIII and XIX century Germany, which saw classical German philosophy, romantic Naturphilosophie as well as natural sciences all embarking upon the exploration of natural phenomena. All these philosophical movements and individual thinkers (such as Goethe and Herder) developed paradigms to think about nature and natural phenomena which offer interesting alternatives to mainstream approaches to nature.

This conference aims at exploring both the general philosophical views about nature as well as approaches to particular phenomena, tracking the relations and influence among conceptual frameworks developed by various movements of the epoch. German philosophy of nature, broadly understood, is often considered as a dead end, infected with outdated methodology and flawed views. Recently, however, numerous studies have shown it to bear original views, a much closer connection with the sciences than previously acknowledged and a sharp awareness of the conceptual issues at stakes, which bear potential for the current conversation on various topics.

The conference will investigate key notions such as “life”, “organism”, “plants” as well as concepts regarding other natural phenomena, such as “colors”, etc. from various perspectives. This requires a cross- and interdisciplinary approach that intertwines insights coming from philosophy, history of science, historically informed philosophy of science and intellectual history. So far, however, these various disciplines have by and large been working independently from each other, focusing on individual philosophical movements or thinkers. We envision this conference as a place where representatives from these disciplines can meet and share their insights on this field. We believe that such “cross-pollination” can be fruitful and stimulate new research in this field.


June 26, 2024

General Conceptions of Nature

9.30 – Introduction: Anton Kabeshkin, Karen Koch, Luca Corti
10.00 – 11.15 – Georg Töpfer (ZTFL, Berlin): What concept of nature do we need and for what?
11.30 – 12.45 – Zaida Olvera (UNAM, Mexico): Plants, rocks and the temporalities of Nature in Goethe and Hegel
13.00 Lunch
15.00 – 16.15 – Luca Corti (University of Padua): Hegel on organized beings
16.30 – 17.45 – Karen Koch (University of Basel): The neutral organism? On Hegel’s account of Life and Sexual Difference

June 27, 2024

Organism and environment

10.00 – 11.15 – Friedrich Steinle (TU Berlin): Goethe, Experiment, and Colours
11.30 – 12.45 – Hasok Chang (University of Cambridge): Romantic electricity: metaphysics and empiricism in the works of Ritter, Davy, Ørsted, Seebeck and Faraday
13.00 Lunch
14.30 – 15.45 – Cécilia Bognon Küss (IHPST, Paris): The Dialectics between Organism and Its Environment: Theories of Assimilations in XIX Century Biology
16.15 – 18:00 – Andrew Cooper (University of Warwick): The Logic of Life from Brown to Darwin: Britain to Germany and back again

June 28, 2024

10.00 – 11.15 – Olaf Müller (HU Berlin): Goethe, Arnim, Ritter und die Entdeckung des Ultravioletten: Ein Paradefall romantischer Physik
11.30 – 12.45 – Sebastian Rand (Georgia State): Hegel and Gravitation
13.00 Lunch
15.00 – 16.15 – Anton Kabeshkin (University of Potsdam): Goethe’s Farbenlehre and Hegel



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