R. D. Precht appointed Honorary Professor

Lüneburg. The renowned philosopher, publicist, and bestselling author, Dr. Richard David Precht, has now been appointed Honorary Professor at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Starting next winter semester, he will give lectures in philosophy at Leuphana College and Graduate School.

To the President of Leuphana University, Dr. Sascha Spoun, the appointment of Richard David Precht as Honorary Professor means an important step toward expanding the discipline of philosophy as part of the Cultural Studies program at Leuphana and, at the same time, is a great success in the competition for bright minds: “By appointing Mr. Precht we have succeeded in finding an expert in the field of science transfer. Students can look forward to having a lecturer who is particularly qualified to familiarize them with philosophical issues.” According to Spoun, Leuphana and its ordinary professorships of theoretical and practical philosophy as well as its junior professorship for cultural philosophy offered students an attractive program of study in philosophy at all levels of academic qualification. Precht’s interest in borderline issues between philosophy, ethics, and biology provided an ideal supplement to the current range of course offerings and, at the same time, emphasized the cross-disciplinary focus of studies at Leuphana.

The new Leuphana professor Precht believes that Leuphana is the right place for him to show his commitment: “I am very happy to teach philosophy as an Honorary Professor at Leuphana University. Leuphana is one of the most innovative universities in Germany. I particularly appreciate its interdisciplinary approach.  For a philosopher, it is not only important to impart specialist knowledge, but also to help educate young people who combine their own ideas with a broad range of knowledge and who can be employed flexibly, whether in politics, the media, science, or business.”

“Germany’s most important public philosopher”, as called by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, has already been affiliated with Leuphana University of Lüneburg since the 2009 winter semester. He was actively involved in the planning of the lecture series on “The nature of the spirit” and publicly discussed the dispute between philosophy and neurosciences. In 2011, he once again participated in a public discussion within the scope of the lecture series on the topic of “love.”

Personal details:
Richard David Precht studied philosophy, German philology, and art history at the University of Cologne. During the period from 1991 to 1995, he worked there as a research assistant on a cognitive science research project. In his dissertation, he analyzed the main causal structures of “The man without characteristics” by Robert Musil. Precht taught at the Universities of Cologne and Luxemburg and held lectures at numerous other universities. His stays abroad led him to the United States and the Philippines. In 2001, he was awarded the journalism prize for biomedicine. Since 1995, Precht has been working for nearly all major national German newspapers and some radio stations. It was particularly his book “Who am I? And if so, how many” that revealed him to a wider public. His last work published was his book entitled “The art of not being an egoist.”

About Leuphana’s philosophy:
For years, the discipline of philosophy at Leuphana University of Lüneburg had been marked by the teaching and research activities of Prof. Dr. Hermann Schweppenhäuser. After his retirement in 1997, Prof. Dr. Christoph Jamme became Professor of Theoretical Philosophy in Applied Cultural Studies. Having studied German philology, philosophy, and general and comparative literature, Jamme earned his PhD from Ruhr University of Bochum by writing his dissertation on “An untaught book. The philosophical links between Hölderlin and Hegel in Frankfurt during the period from 1797-1800.” He subsequently worked as a research assistant at the Hegel Archives at Ruhr University of Bochum. In 1989-1990, Jamme assumed a fellowship position at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) and, in 1990, did his habilitation in Bochum by writing a thesis on “God on has a garment. Limits and perspectives of present-day philosophical theories of myths.” From 1994 to 1997, Jamme was Professor for the History of Philosophy with special regard to German Idealism at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

In the course of Leuphana University’s realignment, an additional professorship in practical philosophy was established and assumed by Prof. Dr. Michael Schefczyk in the 2010-11 winter semester. Michael Schefczyk is a philosopher and economist and established a name for himself in the field of political philosophy both at national and international level. His fifth book entitled “Responsibility for historic injustice” will be published within short. His introduction to the works of John Stuart Mills, which he prepared jointly with Dominique Kuenzle, has gained wide recognition. One of his most ambitious concerns at Leuphana University of Lüneburg has been to strengthen the exchange between the Continental European and the Anglo Saxon tradition of philosophy.

Within the discipline of philosophy, a vacancy for a junior professorship for cultural philosophy with special regard to the philosophy of art was announced and filled last year by appointment of Dr. Yvonne Förster-Beuthan. Junior Professor Dr. Yvonne Förster-Beuthan studied philosophy, Romance languages and literature, and German language and literature at the Technical University of Chemnitz and at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, where she did her PhD; her PhD research topic was modern philosophy of time. After she worked as a Visiting Professor of Aesthetics at Bauhaus University of Weimar, she has been working in Lüneburg as a Junior Professor for Cultural Philosophy with focus on the Philosophy of Art. Her research areas include the philosophy of art, the theory of fashion, interculturality, and the philosophy of time. She is participating in an international project on the topicality of Romanticism, which is carried out in collaboration with Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena and Monash University of Melbourne. Another project currently being planned is a project on the anthropological foundations of aesthetic experience aimed at analyzing the knowledge of evolution aesthetics and neuroaesthetics in terms of their artistic and cultural implications.

Dr. Kerstin Andermann and Dr. Steffi Hobuss are research assistants in the field of philosophy. Dr. Kerstin Andermann studied literature, sociology, and philosophy at the University of Bielefeld and was granted a PhD scholarship at Graduate College of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on the topic of “Image, body, medium. An anthropological perspective” at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design/Center for Arts and Media. She did her PhD in philosophy at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of London/School of Advanced Study. Since 2009, she has been teaching phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, post-structuralism, cultural philosophy, and aesthetics. Her current research interests focus on the following topics: the philosophy of the body, the philosophy of corporeality and feelings, concepts of life and liveliness in anthropology, ethics, aesthetics, theories of affects (Spinoza/Nietzsche), and cultural philosophy. Ms. Andermann intends to do her habilitation in the field of philosophy/cultural studies.
Dr. Steffi Hobuss has been working as a research assistant at the University of Lüneburg since 1996. In 1994, she did her PhD with Eike von Savigny at the University of Bielefeld by writing a thesis on Wittgenstein. She is currently Assistant Excecutive Director of the Institute of Cultural Theory, Cultural Research, and Arts. During the period from September to November 2010, she worked as a visiting professor at the University of Karlstad in Sweden. Her research areas include linguistic philosophy, theory of knowledge, aesthetics and literary theory, theory and history of science, Wittgenstein research, feminist theory and gender studies, intercultural studies. Her habilitation project is entitled “Visual perception since Plato and Aristotle. A critique of the theory of seeing.”
In the 2010-2011 winter semester, the first minor course of study in philosophy was introduced at Leuphana College with great success.