19 Uhr
Salon des ehem. Palais Dürckheim, Cranachstraße 47, Weimar

Metabolizing Materialism. Diderot’s Rêve de d’Alembert Vortrag von Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

Starting out with Hegel’s – quite surprising – irritation and fascination for Diderot’s texts, I develop the thesis that Diderot’s intellectual style is part of a peripheral epistemology that emerges from the 18th century without being subsumed under “the historical world view”, which has shaped our instituional perception of the 18th century as “Enlightenment”. This (Diderot’s) world view can be characterized by four features that are not only peripheral but eccentric in relation to the dominant Western epistemology since the early 19th century: a conception of human existence as embodied; an emphasis on the world as a universe of contingency; a materialistic (and monistic) conception of the physical environment; and judgment as the central intellectual operation. My main point is that this “epistemology” (which is close to ways of thinking and acting that we find in protagonists like Goya, Lichtenberg, and Mozart) may have a – non-teleological – affinity with (a relevance for) our present intellectual and epistemological situation.