Can Philosophy Comprehend Life? (A Talk by Eckart Förster)


Great talk by Eckart Förster (discussing Evan Thompson’s book Mind in Life, among other things, and the relationship between scientific discourse and philosophy, including a reference to Naturphilosophie and Goethe) found here. There is also a talk by Evan Thompson following Eckart Förster.

6 thoughts on “Can Philosophy Comprehend Life? (A Talk by Eckart Förster)

    • Brutal on his part or on the part of the questioners? Because I know Foerster is the sort of a German scholar who’s fine with a straightforward “no, you’re totally wrong here” and not mean it as a personal attack.

  1. I sort of admire that attitude, which I think you’ve perfectly described. But I actually meant brutal on the part of the audience. I recall the criticism coming from two directions: (1) people in non-philosophical disciplines who were basically bewildered by Förster’s argument, or unsure of how it related to the humanities at all; and (2) several quantum physics people (I hesitate to use the word ‘trolls’ in this context) who weren’t quite sure what to make of the contemporary relevance of German idealist Naturphilosophie.

    As a side note, I actually had the chance to meet w/ Professor Förster when I visited Johns Hopkins a few weeks ago (I’ve since confirmed my acceptance there). I was kind of intimidated at first but he was actually very nice and he gave me some recommendations for where to start with reading Fichte. I was actually trying to relocate that Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften video on the Fichte translation project earlier b/c I told him about it and he was interested in obtaining a copy.

  2. The talk by Evan Thompson on the same page of links is also very interesting. If you listen to it, you realize why so many people are annoyed with the so-called “object-oriented philosophy” – mainly of Levi Bryant type (Harman does have a great sense of philosophical context) – it presents the old problems with many attempted solutions as the new problems that are in dire need of our attention. I know this is a dead horse, but I thought I’d kick it one more time: no wonder OOP is popular among a) non-philosophers who know little of rich philosophical tradition, and b) graduate students who are only entering this rich philosophical tradition. Once more people realize that this “new” philosophy is in fact an inferior version (mumbled together incomprehensibly in Bryant and mused over in Harman) of “old” philosophy, they will fell as cheated as many of those who took their time to read Bryant’s blogophilosophy and Harman’s “books”.

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