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Nature and Culture in German Romanticism and Idealism

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UNSW Australia and the University of Sydney

12-14 March, 2014

The last two decades can be described as witness to a genuine revival of interest in German romantic and idealist philosophy. Philosophers working in a variety of areas have embraced the ideas of the romantics and idealists, disentangling them from false or misunderstood legacies, and reexamining them in light of contemporary debates. This conference aims to advance this significant historical and philosophical research, by investigating the two most central themes in German idealist and romantic philosophy: nature and culture and their interdependence.

Precisely because of the interdisciplinary character of romanticism and idealism, the conference approaches the two movements from a number of related angles. In the first instance, the goal is to consider how various thinkers from the romantic era conceived nature and culture, and sought to harmonize the sphere of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and the sphere of the humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), which, only some fifty years later, became fully separated. In addition, the conference seeks to investigate the interdisciplinary conception of “Geist” developed during that time, which today can be translated into “mind” as well as its various externalizations as “society,” “arts,” “institutions,” and “culture.” In these two ways, the conference will explore the uniqueness of the romantic and idealist views, and consider their potential significance for contemporary debates.

Conference organizers: Heikki Ikäheimo (UNSW), Dalia Nassar (Sydney), Paul Redding (Sydney)

Conference sponsored by the Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN) at the University of Sydney and the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW Australia.