German Philosophy Seminar 2020-2021: Martin Buber’s Philosophy of Communication
Semester One: Johan Siebers (Middlesex), Vic Seidler (Goldsmiths, Leo Baeck College)
Semester Two: Johan Siebers (Middlesex), Vic Seidler (Goldsmiths, Leo Baeck College), Federico Filauri (SAS)
Ernst Bloch Centre
Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Seminars will take place on Mondays, from 16:00-18:00 GMT via Zoom, on:
5, 19 October; 2, 16, 30 November; 14 December 2020
Dates for Semester Two will be announced later in the year
Please register in advance to obtain the zoom link and any further information.
Martin Buber's dialogical philosophy contains a fundamental reflection on the nature of human relations and how they can be participated in, interpreted, and studied. In this seminar we will examine Buber's main writings, focusing on his claim that the dialogical I-Thou relation differs fundamentally from social relations, that it can only be understood on its own terms, that it exists in communicative speech (even though not always words are exchanged in concrete I-Thou instances) and that it resists all attempts at objectification. We will bring this claim into conversation with other approaches to understanding human relations and the nature of the social, e.g. Marxism, feminism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, communication theory and contemporary social philosophy. We will ask how the interhuman and the social are related. Could a future-oriented, utopian horizon to human relationality emerge as the mediation between the interhuman and the social? How might this inform a contemporary assessment of Buber’s work? We’ll work with primary texts by Buber and others, as well as with literary and first-person accounts of relationality and dialogue.