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180130 FS Philosophy and the Public Sphere (2020W)

Philosophy in the field of tension between public presence and academic self-image

10.00 ECTS (4.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Attention: The preliminary discussion of the research seminar, during which the concept, methods and tasks will be presented, will take place on 8 October 2020 at 15:00. It is absolutely necessary to attend it. The preliminary meeting takes place virtually, all notes and links can be found on Moodle All other dates will be fixed by arrangement.

Thursday 08.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 22.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 29.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 2G, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/2.Stock, 1010 Wien
Thursday 05.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 12.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 19.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 26.11. 15:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 03.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 10.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 17.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 07.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Thursday 14.01. 14:00 - 18:00 Digital
Thursday 21.01. 14:00 - 18:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The interest in philosophy beyond the scientific-academic sphere has markedly increased lately. Not least due to political crises and recently the Corona Pandemic, fundamental philosophical and ethical questions are discussed intensively, not only at universities but also in the broader public. In addition to the feuilleton, these discourses take place primarily in philosophically oriented popular magazines, TV formats and blogs. The growing public interest in philosophy is countered by a traditional academic skepticism against any form of popular philosophy, as it, allegedly, can only provide a simplified, distorted and ultimately false picture of philosophy. However, a systematic investigation of the relationship between philosophy and the public sphere on the basis of concrete examples is still pending. The research seminar "Philosophy and the Public Sphere" starts here and wants to use selected examples to investigate how philosophy is viewed, communicated and instrumentalized outside the strictly academic context. The field of tension between philosophical science and its popular marketing will be examined, as well as the question of addressees and political implications. The following will be analyzed in detail: philosophical "bestsellers", philosophical popular magazines ("der blaue reiter", "Hohe Luft", "Philosophie-Magazin", "Abenteuer Philosophie"), philosophical TV formats ("Sternstunde Philosophie", "Das philosophische Quartett", "Precht"), philosophical blogs ("Slippery Slopes"), philosophical contributions in radio formats ("Salzburger Nachtstudio") and philosophical contributions in the science supplements of more demanding daily newspapers (NZZ, FAZ).
After a jointly made pre-selection (type of media, period of investigation) and the development of concrete questions (image of philosophy, topics and problems, persons, significance of the history of philosophy, topicality etc.), research groups with 3 - 5 members should appraise the selected media, analyse them critically and evaluate them with regard to the area of conflict between public relevance and philosophical standards. In a blocked joint final session (presence or digital) the results will then be presented and discussed. If possible, the seminar should take place as a mixture of face-to-face teaching and digital teaching; if necessary, both the research groups and the presentations can take place digitally.
The aim of the research seminar is an exemplary but systematic and publishable analysis of the image and relevance of philosophy in the German-speaking public. In this way, the research seminar also aims to make a relevant contribution to the university's "Third Mission".

Assessment and permitted materials

compulsory attendance, participation in research groups, presentation of research results, written thesis. By registering for this course/seminar, you tacitly agree to having all your electronic submissions checked by

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Attendance and regular participation in the research groups; presentation of the group's research results as a thesis paper of approx. 3 pages; written thesis (approx. 10 pages)

Examination topics

Continuous assessment of course work; reading, analysis and joint discussion of the selected and presented texts and formats

Reading list

Primary literature:
The media, texts, books and programs selected by the research groups

Secondary literature:
Anders, Günther: Über philosophische Diktion und das Problem der Popularisierung. Göttingen: Wallstein 1992
Gerhardt, Volker: Öffentlichkeit. Die politische Form des Bewusstseins. München: Beck 2012. Darin vor allem: Einleitung: Die Weltöffentlichkeit des Bewusstseins.

Keil, Geert: Wo sind die Philosophen, wenn man sie braucht? Über Philosophie und Öffentlichkeit. In: Information Philosophie 1/2017, S. 8 – 19 (http://www.information-philosophie.de/?a=1&t=8529&n=2&y=4&c=127)

Zorn, Daniel-Pascal: Shooting Stars: Philosophie zwischen Pop und Akademie. Frankfurt/M: Klostermann 2019

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Tu 03.11.2020 10:28