Nature and Culture in German Romanticism and Idealism

When:12 Mar 2014, 9am - 5pm
13 Mar 2014, 9am - 7pm
14 Mar 2014, 9am - 7pm
Venue:See below

UNSW Australia and the University of Sydney

12-14 March, 2014

The last two decades can be described as witness to a genuine revival of interest in German romantic and idealist philosophy. Philosophers working in a variety of areas have embraced the ideas of the romantics and idealists, disentangling them from false or misunderstood legacies, and reexamining them in light of contemporary debates. This conference aims to advance this significant historical and philosophical research, by investigating the two most central themes in German idealist and romantic philosophy: nature and culture and their interdependence.

Precisely because of the interdisciplinary character of romanticism and idealism, the conference approaches the two movements from a number of related angles. In the first instance, the goal is to consider how various thinkers from the romantic era conceived nature and culture, and sought to harmonize the sphere of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and the sphere of the humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), which, only some fifty years later, became fully separated. In addition, the conference seeks to investigate the interdisciplinary conception of “Geist” developed during that time, which today can be translated into “mind” as well as its various externalizations as “society,” “arts,” “institutions,” and “culture.” In these two ways, the conference will explore the uniqueness of the romantic and idealist views, and consider their potential significance for contemporary debates

Conference organisers:

Heikki Ikäheimo (UNSW),

Dalia Nassar (Sydney) and

Paul Redding (Sydney)

E: Click here to email coordinators

Conference sponsored by the Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN) at the University of Sydney and the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW Australia.

Conference Registration

Registrations close 7 March 2014

Click here to register 

See Professor Manfred Frank present additional events, click links below for more information:

Philosophy Seminar So What? Lectue 

  • The Centre for Moderism Studies in Australia will hold a master class on Tuesday 11 March, 4:00-7:00pm, Webster 139, UNSW Australia. The workshop will deal with selections from Fichte Studies by the German Romantic Novalis and will be co-hosted by the School of Humanities and Languages and by the Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia. Participants are asked to email Sean Pryor for a copy of the text for the workshop.

Conference Schedule


UNSW Australia

Room: John Goodsell 119

Click here for map

• Session I: Chair, Heikki Ikäheimo

• 9-10.30 Richard Eldridge (Swarthmore), “Why Be Moral? Idealism and the Value of Autonomy”

• 10.30-11.30 Melissa Merritt (UNSW), “Cultur and Cognitive Virtue in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals”

11.30-12.30 Lunch

Session II: Chair, Francesco Borghesi

• 12.30-1.30 Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney), “Language as a Form of Expression in Herder”

• 1.30-2.30 Anik Waldow (Sydney), “How to Study the Human Being? Reflections on Kant’s Anthropology”

2.30-3 Tea

Session III: Chair, Simon Lumsden

• 3-4 Heikki Ikäheimo (UNSW), “Between Determinism and Freedom - Fichte’s Trouble with Recognition”

• 4-5 John Rundell (Melbourne), “The Mooring and Unmooring of the Imagination in Schiller and Fichte


University of Sydney

Room: CCANESA Boardroom,

Madsen Building F09

Click here for map

Session I: Chair, Daniela Helbig

• 9-10 Andrew Benjamin (Monash), “From Natural Feeling to Moral Feeling: Kant and the Limitations of Happiness”

• 10-11 Dalia Nassar (Sydney), “Description or Explanation? Natural Philosophy after Kant”

11-11.30 Tea

Session II: Chair, Dalia Nassar

• 11.30-1 Kate Rigby (Monash), “Earth’s Poesy: Natural Philosophy, Romantic Poetics, and Biosemiotics”

1-2.30 Lunch + Break

Session III: Chair, Luke Fischer

Reading Room,

St Andrew’s College,

University of Sydney

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2-3 Tim Mehigan (Queensland), “Kleist, Scepticism and Romanticism”

3-4 Jennifer Milam (Sydney), “German Garden-Landscape-Art: ‘a kind of nature in miniature as a poetic ideal’”

4-5 Goetz Richter and Jeanell Carrigan (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), “Music as Philosophy: Beethoven’s Rhetoric of Romanticism”

5-6.30 Book launch, The Relevance of Romanticism, Stephen Gaukroger

+ Reception

7pm Speakers’ Dinner


University of Sydney

Room: CCANESA Boardroom,

Madsen Building F09

Click here for map

Session I: Chair, Heikki Ikäheimo

• 9.30-11 Brady Bowman (Penn State), “Nature and the Emergence of Conscience: Alternative Accounts”

• 11-12 Simon Lumsden (UNSW), “Freedom and Dwelling in Hegel and Heidegger”

12-1 Lunch

Session II: Chair, Paul Redding

• 1-2.30 Manfred Frank (Tübingen), “‘Identity of Identity and Non-Identity’: Schelling’s Path to the ‘Absolute System of Identity’”

2.30-3 Tea

Session III: Chair, Dalia Nassar

• 3-4 Paul Redding (Sydney), “Hegel, the Conceptual and the Creaturely”

• 4-5 Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie): “Self-relation and Object-relation in Feuerbach: a Sensuous Strand in Post-Hegelian Philosophy”

7pm Speakers’ Dinner

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