FiF Lecture 2023 with Prof. Dr. Dieter Thomä

FiF Lecture "Do Democracies Need Heroes?

What: Public Lecture

When: 16 May 2023, 6 pm

Where: Lichtenberg-Haus, Dieburger Straße 241

On 16 May, Prof. Dr Dieter Thomä will hold the FiF Lecture of this year. Dieter Thomä teaches philosophy at St. Gallen University. His work has received a great international resonance. He was a fellow at Max Weber-Kolleg in Erfurt, at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, as well as a visiting professor at Yale University (USA), among other places.

The figure of the hero has been severely battered in recent years. On the one hand, it was considered to be antiquated or even dangerous by many people. According to the advice of some sociologists, we should adapt to a “post-heroic” society. On the other hand, there was a return and a new rise of heroes in the context of the Corona pandemic and then in a different context in the course of the Ukraine war. This lecture is an attempt to explore the conflicting views of the parties and to clarify the role of heroism in democracy. Dieter Thomä develops a minimal definition of heroism and investigates whether it fits into the democratic ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity. He maintains that we should be careful of some heroes, but that a democracy should not leave heroism to its despisers. It is therefore important to distinguish democratic heroism from its authoritarian or totalitarian counterparts. In a crisis of democracy – and when is it not in a crisis? – heroines and heroes are not only tolerated but are welcome.

About the person:

Dieter Thomä has been Professor for Philosophy at University of St. Gallen since 2000. He was a fellow, among others, at the Getty Resarch Institute (Los Angeles), at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), as well as a visiting professor at Brown University and Yale University. His most recent book publications are “Why Democracies Need Heroes” (2019) and “Puer robustus. A Philosophy of the Troublemaker” (2016).

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