About the Humboldt Project

The Humboldt Project is led by James Conant. It is conceived as a joint venture between a number of departments and centers of philosophy, with a primary axis of cooperation between the University of Chicago and the University of Leipzig. Accordingly, between 2017 and 2022 Conant will divide his time between those two universities. On July 1, 2017 Conant assumed the position of Humboldt Professor at the University of Leipzig. In order to serve in this capacity, during this five-year span he will teach at the University of Chicago only during the Spring Quarter of each year. He is co-director with Andrea Kern of the FAGI in Leipzig, as well as the director of the Center for German Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Under his leadership, these two research centers will jointly comprise the spine of an international philosophical network, spanning Germany, Greece, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Mission

The Humboldt Project is dedicated to increasing dialogue between scholars working on the German tradition in philosophy (from Leibniz through Kant and Hegel to Nietzsche) and in the analytic tradition in philosophy (from Frege through Wittgenstein to the present), to exploring the mutual implication of these two traditions, and, above all, to sponsoring research that spans or draws on both traditions. The project is directed by James Conant, with the assistance of the faculty and post-doctoral fellows at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig. The Project serves as a funding platform to build upon past and foster new forms of philosophical cooperative venture between Chicago, Leipzig, and further centers of philosophy that share their vision of the mutual implication of these traditions. It also funds visiting fellowships and professorships for doctoral students, post doctoral researchers, and faculty from cooperating institutions united under its umbrella.

Joint Ventures

The Humboldt Project promotes and funds academic exchange at the doctoral, post-doctoral, and professorial levels, while sponsoring a series of international conferences, workshops, and seminars. It also supports a network of cooperative ventures with its institutional partners – above all, the philosophy departments at the Universities of Chicago,  Patras, Potsdam, and Tel-Aviv. Each of these cooperative ventures, in addition to involving the regular exchange of visiting scholars in both directions, sponsors at least one conference per year, alternating in location between Leipzig and the home of the partner institution. The history of cooperative conferences and workshops between Chicago and Leipzig dates back to 2006. Through the joint funding of the Humboldt Project and the University of Chicago Center for German Philosophy, the Chicago/Leipzig Conference Series involves two conferences per year at Chicago, an additional two in Leipzig, as well as two Graduiertentagungen. The Humboldt Project also assists in the funding of the workshops and conferences organized by the Tel Aviv/Potsdam German Idealism Network (with annual events every June in Germany and every December in Israel), as well as those organized by the Network for Practical Thought and Good Action. The Göttingen/Leipzig/Chicago Graduate Workshop, and the Patras/Leipzig/Pittsburgh Conference each take place every June, and are supported through the Humboldt Project. Further cooperative ventures promoted by the FAGI include cooperation and exchange of scholars with the Center for Ethics as Study in Human Value at the University of Pardubice, a joint conference series with the University of Frankfurt, and a graduate workshop series organized jointly with the Philosophy Department at UCL.

Opportunities for Individual Scholars

We invite scholars of all levels to visit us and share their work with the members of our institute. Each year, two senior professors are invited to spend time in Leipzig and teach an advanced seminar on their work. Junior scholars and doctoral students are invited to apply through this website for doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships. These are intended to fund research stays in Leipzig ranging in length from one to six months. Doctoral students from the University of Leipzig may also apply for monthly stipends to be visiting graduate students at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago for up to six months. Finally, the Project arranges for at least one visit per year to the University of Chicago for every postdoctoral fellow and faculty member at Leipzig associated with the FAGI during the academic year. These range in length from one week to an entire academic year. 

 

Director

Anglophone philosophy has been dominated by the so-called “analytic tradition”, whereas contemporary German philosophy has been dominated by the so-called “Continental tradition”. The American philosopher, James Conant, is at home in both worlds and is seen as a bridge-builder between the two traditions. He is a respected scholar in the history of the German tradition from Kant and Nietzsche to Frege and Wittgenstein. On the analytic side, beyond his work on the history of the analytic tradition, he is also well known for his contributions to a variety of areas in contemporary analytic philosophy, including epistemology (especially skepticism), philosophy of language (especially the relation between meaning and use), and aesthetics (especially the philosophy of visual arts). See HERE for an up-to-date CV, downloadable versions of selected publications, and responses to his work. See HERE for selected audio and video recordings of some of his lectures and interviews.