Workshop: “Utopia in German Idealism” (London, 17 May 2024)

Workshop: "Utopia in German Idealism" (London, 17 May 2024)

We are glad to give notice of the workshop Utopia in German Idealism, which will take place on May 17th, 2024, at the School of Advanced Study University of London (Bedford Room, G37, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, 10:00AM – 8:15PM).

The workshop is organized by Gregor Schäfer (ILCS/Basle); Johan Siebers (ILCS/Middlesex) and Antimo Lucarelli (ILCS).

The flyer with the program of the event is available at this link.

For further information, please visit the website of the event.

Below you can find the abstract of the workshop.


In his commentary on Hegel, Subject-Object: Erläuterungen zu Hegel (1951), Ernst Bloch criticises the closed structure of Hegel’s system as the ‘spell of anamnesis’ that makes it impossible to think something really new. At the same time, he describes the structure of Hegel’s system as the simultaneity of the presence and the absence of the whole, the totum: a structure he calls a ‘utopian presence’. Whilst Hegel (and Bloch) criticise any abstract understanding of Utopia that opposes it to the present world in an external way, according to this interpretation, a utopian structure can be found at the very heart of Hegel’s system. Together with Bloch’s reference to Schelling’s late positive philosophy – as focusing on a drive striving beyond any abstract-identical, un-historical understanding of presence – and together with references to obvious utopian aspects in Kant’s and Fichte’s practical-moral philosophy, German Idealism plays a central systematic role in Bloch’s concept of (concrete) Utopia. Similarly, this constellation allows one to discern Utopia as a systematic – theoretical and practical – structure present in German Idealism itself. Although Bloch explicitly refers to these connections, the role of German Idealism as a central historical and systematic source for his concept of Utopia is still widely neglected in research on Bloch, and Utopia and its constitutive role are still a marginalised topic in research on German Idealism. At a time of crisis such as this – characterised by its uncertainty and openness –addressing this question is particularly relevant.

This workshop aims to respond to this by dwelling on this constellation and discussing its systematic and critical relevance from different perspectives – be it with regard to Bloch’s dialogue with German Idealism, or to German Idealism itself (particularly in the work of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling, but also in that of other figures belonging to this tradition such as Hölderlin).

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