Diderot’s “Materialism”: About the Potential of an Epistemological Affinity
The lecture emerges from a recently finished book manuscript that tries to reconstruct an epistemological outline in the late 18th century which, on the one hand, seems remote from present-day knowledge and concerns (especially in its quest for “materialism”) but which, on the other hand, may offer certain perspectives that may inspire (rather than “define”) present-day intellectual trajectories.
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of French & Italian (and by courtesy, he is affiliated with the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures/ILAC, the Department of German Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought & Literature). As a scholar, Gumbrecht focuses on the histories of the national literatures in Romance language (especially French, Spanish, and Brazilian), but also on German literature, while, at the same time, he teaches and writes about the western philosophical tradition (almost exclusively on non-analytic philosophy) with an emphasis on French and German nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts. In addition, Gumbrecht tries to analyze and to understand forms of aesthetic experience in 21st-century everyday culture. Over the past forty years, he has published more than two thousand texts, including books, translated into more than twenty languages. In Europe and in South America, Gumbrecht has a presence as a public intellectual; whereas, in the academic world, he has been acknowledged with Honorary Doctorates (ten in all) from universities in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, and Georgia; with the most recent from Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (Germany) in July 2017. He has also held a large number of visiting professorships, at the Collège de France, University of Lisbon, University of Manchester, and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, among others. In the spring of 2017, he was a Martin Buber Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He recently taught in the Stanford’s Bing Overseas Program at the campus in Santiago, Chile (spring quarter 2018). [Source: Stanford University webpage]
- Prose of the World: Diderot, Goya, Lichtenberg, and Mozart and an End of Enlightenment. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019. [forthcoming]