The Translation of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Translation

A Conference at the University of Potsdam, September 23 & 24, 2019
The topic of this conference is the relation between philosophy and its translation into different traditions and languages. We aim at investigating the pertinence of the concept of translation to our understanding of the nature and character of the transmission of tradition, and in particular of a philosophical tradition of thought.

There are different ways of thinking of what a temporal medium of tradition is, and what transmission comes to. This involves various practices of interpretation of the past, and various forms of establishing continuity and differentiation.

We will be concerned specifically with the question whether the concept of translation, as it is elaborated by different theories of translation, could give us a particular understanding of these continuities and transformations. Thus, we will distinguish the transmission of contents from the translation of terms. Whereas much of our understanding of meaning is directed to think in terms of propositional unities, the focus on translation can open for us the unity of a word or a term.

We, consequently, plan to discuss  the interdependence of the translation of terms and the transmission of propositional content. Translation in this broad sense provides us with a framework for considering history and in particular the shifts in the history of philosophy. These acts of translation can occur when a new conceptual space is opened and the term under consideration is embedded in it.

The conference will pursue this aim by a number of concrete case studies. In particular we will be concerned with a complex web of connection that arises by attending to the fate of the Kantian or more broadly the German Idealist philosophical tradition throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century up to the present age.

The conference is organized jointly by Jim Conant (Leipzig), Eli Friedlander (Tel-Aviv) and Johannes Haag (Potsdam), and it is funded by the German Israeli Fund (GIF), the University of Chicago Center for German Philosophy, the Humboldt Foundation, the FAGI, and the KoUP Program of the University of Potsdam.


bianca.ancillotti [at]


Campus Am Neuen Palais, Haus 8, Raum 0.56


23 & 24 September 2019

Conference Materials          

Password protected Folder


Sarale Ben Asher
Idit Chikurel
Paul Franks
Eli Friedlander
Yuval Kremnitzer
Benjamin Pollock
Moran Godess Riccitelli
Christoph Schulte





Bianca Ancillotti
Silver Bronzo
James Conant
Christoph Koenig
Martin Gustafsson
Johannes Haag
Adrian Haddock


Conference Program          



September 23rd


09:30 – 10:00 Coffee and Opening Remarks


10:00 – 11:30 Charity, Reflection, and the Determinability of Translation

Speaker: Paul Franks

Moderator: Johannes Haag


11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break


12:00 – 13:30  The Language of Ciphers in Kant’s Third Critique: Towards Moral Theology

Speaker: Moran Godess Riccitelli

Moderator: Silver Bronzo


13:30 – 15:00 Lunch Break


15:00 – 16:30 Not a Simple Analogy: The Copernican Revolution and Kant

Speaker: Sarale Ben Asher

Moderator: Bianca Ancillotti


16:30 – 17:00 Coffee Break


17:00 – 18:30 Translation as Realization

Speaker: Eli Friedlander

Moderator: Christoph Koenig


September 24th


10:00 – 11:30 Kant in Hebrew in 1783

Speaker: Christoph Schulte

Moderator: Martin Gustafsson


11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break


12:00 – 13:30 Transcultural Translations: Maimon’s and Mendelssohn’s Translations of Scientific and Logical Knowledge in Jewish                         Philosophy

Speaker: Idit Chikurel

Moderator: tba


13:30 – 15:00 Lunch Break


15:00 – 16:30 Mendelssohn’s Silent Hebrew and the Missed Opportunity of the Pantheism Affair

Speaker: Yuval Kremnitzer

Modeator: Adrian Haddock


16:30–17:00 Coffee Break


17:00–18:30 Franz Rosenzweig on Teshuva, Metanoia, and Umkehr

Speaker: Benjamin Pollock

Moderator: James Conant

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