Frankfurt Lectures

Philosophy and Revolution in the late 18th Century: a Reinterpretation

8 and 9 November 2010
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M. / Campus Westend / Hörsaalzentrum / HZ3

Montag, 8 November 2010, 19 pm

Lecture I: The late 18th century's Curious Idea that Philosophy caused the French Revolution


{flv img="videoscreens/scr_frankfurtlectures_israel"}20101108_FrankfurtLectures_Israel{/flv}


Tuesday, 9 November 2010, 19 pm

Lecture II: The Enlightenment's Quarrel over Basic Human Rights


{flv img="videoscreens/scr_francfurtlectrues_israel2.jpg"}20101109FrankfurtLecture_Israel2{/flv}


Plakat Frankfurt Lectures IVAlthough it seems strange to us today, it was common in the years around 1790 for philosophers sympathetic to the French Revolution to speak of it as the realization of ' modern philosophy'. When examined, this perception can be seen to possess appreciable cultural and political significance. What was meant was that modern philosophy, considered in all its aspects implied a vast mobilization of intellectual and cultural impulses and these could be seen as having provided the mental apparatus that engineered the vast transformation political, social and legal that Europe and the entire world was undergoing. ' Die französische Revolution das Werk der Philosophie, aber was für ein Sprung von dem cogito, ergo sum bis zum ersten Erschallen des à la Bastille im Palais Royal. ' Given Lichtenberg's approach to scientific and philosophical questions, we may presume that he meant by this that it needed a shift to a systematically rational view of reality on many levels for human ideals and needs to come to be expressed and legislated for in the way that transpired in 1789. Thinking in terms of basic human rights was obviously one such dimension; another was the virtual destruction of confessional and theological differences as a meaningful divide between humans. But the most important change was the idea that the state exists to promote the interests of the majority conceived as equals. 'What a development! ', exclaimed Wekhrlin, in 1791: the torch of philosophy has finally been taken up in society and the 'rights of reason and of Man' transferred to the sphere of reality. 'The true principles of society have been researched and aufgeklärt', and the public understanding has been brought to grasp 'the general good'. In short, the century of the Enlightenment was one in which human life had ceased to be the plaything of politics and religion!' With the public sphere, freedom of the press and the Revolution, humanity had become, or so it briefly seemed, the sphere of 'reason'.

Jonathan Israel

Jonathan Israel worked in the early part of his career mainly on Spanish, Spanish American and Dutch history. From 1985 to 2000 he held the chair in Dutch History at University College London. Since 1993, he has devoted his efforts mainly to the study of the European Enlightenment in its intellectual context and in relation to social and political developments. Since January 2001 he has been professor fo Modern History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His most recent book is A Revolution of the Mind. Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual origins of Modern Democracy (Princeton, 2010).



International Law and Empire: Historical Lessons

9 and 10 May 2011, 7.15 pm
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. / Campus Westend / Hörsaalzentrum / HZ3

Monday, 9 May 2011, 7.15 pm

Lecture I: Empires of Private Right 1500-1606


{flv img="videoscreens/scr_frankurtlectures_koskenniemi"}20110509_Frankfurt Lectures_Martti Koskenniemi{/flv}


Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 7.15 pm

Lecture II: Empires of Public Power 1625-1914


{flv img="videoscreens/scr_frankfurtlectures_koskenniemi2"}20110510_Frankfurt Lectures_Martti Koskenniemi{/flv}


Both lectures are concerned with the role of private and public law as instruments of global exercise of power. Historically power was not only exercised in the form of national sovereignty, but also always in the form of private law of ownership and of contract. The lectures are going to show that global exercise of power is still dependent on both forms. However, the function of private law to provide global order lacks attention.

Martti Koskenniemi

Martti Koskenniemi is one of the leading international law theorists. He is the director of the Erik-Castrén-Institute for International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki.

Picture gallery:

Frankfurt Lecture II: Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser: The Crisis of Capitalism

19 and 20 April 2010, 7pm
Goethe University Frankfurt/Main / Campus Westend / Hörsaalzentrum / HZ3

Monday, 19 April 2010
Lecture I: Marketization, Social Protection, Emancipation

Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Lecture II: Ambivalences of Emancipation

Nancy  FraserFraser’s analysis of the crisis of capitalism builds upon the theory of the economist and social theorist Karl Polanyi (“The Great Transformation”, 1944), augmenting Polanyi’s thesis of a double movement of marketization and social protections with a third axis of social struggles: emancipation. This threefold movement forms the core of her theoretical reflections which cast the current crisis of capitalist societies in a new light.

Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser is the Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics and at the New School for Social Research in New York. She currently holds a “Blaise Pascal International Research Chair” at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.


Frankfurt Lecture I: Charles Larmore

Charles Larmore: Vernunft und Subjektivität

2 and 3 November, 7 - 10pm
Goethe University Frankfurt/Main / Campus Westend / Hörsaalzentrum / HZ6

Lecture I: Vernunft
Monday 2 November 2009

Lecture II: Subjektivität
Tuesday 3 November 2009


Charles Larmore

Charles LarmoreHaving formerly taught at Columbia University and at the University of Chicago, Charles Larmore is now the W. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Brown University.  His work is centered in the areas of moral and political philosophy, though he has also written on the nature of the self and on various topics in metaphysics and epistemology.  Among his most recent books are Les pratiques du moi (2004), for which he received the Grand Prix de Philosophie from the Académie Française, and The Autonomy of Morality (2008).

W. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Philosophy
Brown University
54 College Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Areas of specialization:

Moral and political philosophy, History of philosophy (17th – 20th centuries)

Complete CV: click here (pdf)


Nicole Deitelhoff erhält LOEWE-Spitzen-Professur an Goethe-Universität und HSFK

Die Co-Sprecherin des Forschungszentrums "Normative Ordnungen" Prof. Nicole Deitelhoff erhält eine LOEWE-Spitzen-Professur des Landes Hessen. Wir freuen uns, dass diese Förderung ihre Forschungen zur Produktivität von Konflikten auch weiterhin fruchtbar machen wird. Weitere Informationen: Hier...

Normative Orders Newsletter 02|23 erschienen

Der Newsletter aus dem Forschungszentrum „Normative Ordnungen“ versammelt Informationen über aktuelle Veranstaltungen, Neuigkeiten und Veröffentlichungen. Zur zweiten Ausgabe: Hier...

Upcoming Events

1. und 2. Juni 2023

International Conference: Populism and Democracy – A Contradiction? More...

1. Juni 2023, 20 Uhr

Lecture & Film „Kino am Abgrund der Moderne. Die Filme von Luis Buñuel“: Marie Rebecchi (Aix-en-Provence): Film Surréaliste: The Indiscreet Charm of Disgust. Mehr...

5. Juni 2023, 18.15 Uhr

ConTrust Speaker Series: Prof. Dr. Armin von Bogdandy (MPI für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Goethe-Universität, ConTrust): Vertrauen und Konflikt in der europäischen Gesellschaft. Mehr...


Latest Media


Weitere Videoaufzeichnungen finden Sie hier...

Denken in Institutionen

Prof. Dr. Hubertus Buchstein (Universität Greifswald)
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Dirk Jörke (TU Darmstadt)
Gedenksymposium für Rainer Schmalz-Bruns

"Eine neue Welt voll Wunder”: Demokratische Lebensformen in Zeiten der Revolution

Prof. Dr. Till van Rahden (Université de Montréal)
Ringvorlesung "Das Bauwerk der Demokratie. Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft der Paulskirche als politisches Symbol"

New full-text Publications

Christoph Burchard and Finn-Lauritz Schmidt (2023)

Climate Crimes - A Critique. Normative Orders Working Paper 01/2023. More..