Saturday, Feb 3, 2024, 12:30 PM

Josef Früchtl


It Needs an Art of Translation: Critical Theory and Feelings

As in philosophy in general, Critical Theory is not good with feelings. On the one hand, this is not surprising, because Critical Theory is essentially concerned with the problem of legitimizing critique, i.e. with the question of how critique can be justified, and this justification is based on reason as the epitome of justification. On the other hand, the situation is very surprising, because it is an essential part of the self-conception of Critical Theory to present an expanded concept of reason that is not rationalistically limited. My talk aims to address this astonishing emotional void in Critical Theory. Starting from its founding fathers, I will focus on more recent developments—all of which draw on Jürgen Habermas’s work—that intimate new approaches to feeling but ultimately fall short of their potential. My talk concludes by arguing that the expansion of reason requires a “translation” or “transformation” of feelings. What is needed is not a theory of separation, but a theory of integration, and this specific integration cannot succeed without aesthetics.

Josef Früchtl studied philosophy, German philology, and sociology in Frankfurt a.M. and Paris. He was Professor of Philosophy of Art and Culture from 1996 to 2005 at the University of Münster. Since 2005 he has been Professor of Philoso-phy of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. His major research interests are in aesthetics, in theories of modernity and postmodernity, in the critical theory of culture and cultural science, and in the philosophy of film. Main publications: Demokratie der Gefühle: Ein ästhetisches Plädoyer (2021); Vertrauen in die Welt: Eine Philosophie des Films (2013; Trust in the World: A Philosophy of Film, 2018); Das unverschämte Ich. Eine Heldengeschichte der Moderne (2004; The Impertinent Self: A Heroic History of Modernity, 2009); Ästhetische Erfahrung und moralisches Urteil: Eine Rehabilitierung (1996); Mimesis – Konstellation eines Zentralbegriffs bei Adorno (1986; revised edition, 2024); and Ästhetik der Inszenierung: Dimensionen eines künstlerischen, kulturellen und gesellschaftlichen Phänomens (co-editor, 2001).

The event will be held in English