James Ferguson Conant
Alexander von Humboldt-Professor
On July 1st, 2017 James Conant assumed the position of Humboldt Professor at the University of Leipzig. He has been co-director with Andrea Kern of the Forschungskolleg Analytic German Idealism in Leipzig since 2012. He is also the director of the Center for German Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Under his leadership, these two research centers will form the main axis of an international philosophical network, spanning Germany, Israel and the United States. They will jointly promote and fund academic exchange at the doctoral, post-doctoral and professorial levels, while sponsoring a series of international conferences, workshops, and seminars to be held in Chicago, Leipzig, and Tel Aviv. These will be devoted not only to increasing dialogue between scholars working on classical German philosophy and analytic philosophy respectively, but, more importantly, to exploring the mutual implication of these two traditions in one another — especially as it has come to be embodied in the work of contemporary philosophers on both sides of the Atlantic whose work resists categorization in either of these traditions to the exclusion of the other.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1958, James Conant is also Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and Full Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, USA. After taking a B.A. and then a Ph.D. at Harvard University, USA, in 1990, he became a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. In 1999, he moved to the University of Chicago. He has taught, amongst others, in France, Germany, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Ireland and Italy. Conant has received numerous awards and honours including the Humboldt Foundation’s Anneliese Maier Research Award and the Neubauer Collegium Award for the University of Chicago’s “ldealism Project”.
He works broadly in philosophy and has published articles in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Aesthetics, German Idealism, and History of Analytic Philosophy, among other areas, and on a wide range of philosophers, including Kant, Emerson, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Josiah Royce, William James, Frege, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Putnam, Cavell, Rorty, and McDowell, among others.
His latest books are:
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Perfektionismus und Perspektivismus, Konstanz University Press, 2014.
- The Norton Anthology of Western Philosophy: Vol. 2 After Kant: The Analytic Tradition, W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.
A Brief Autobiographical Reflection
“Philosophy is really homesickness: the urge to be at home everywhere.”
“Die Philosophie ist eigentlich Heimweh – Trieb überall zu Hause zu sein.”
– Novalis, Das allgemeine Broullion,
Materialien zur Enzyklopädistik 1789/99, Nr. 857