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dr. Susan Neiman

dr. Susan Neiman

Evil in Modern Thought and Moral Clarity
Languages : English, German

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  • Evil in the 21st Century
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Susan Neiman is a moral philosopher, a cultural commentator and essayist, with an interest in exploring the persistence and juncture of Enlightenment thought and moral philosophy, metaphysics, politics and reinterpreting past thinkers for contemporary contexts. She received global recognition for her book 'Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy' where she tells the history of modern philosophy as an attempt to come to terms with evil. She reintroduces philosophy to anyone

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Susan Neiman is a moral philosopher, a cultural commentator and essayist, with an interest in exploring the persistence and juncture of Enlightenment thought and moral philosophy, metaphysics, politics and reinterpreting past thinkers for contemporary contexts. She received global recognition for her book 'Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy' where she tells the history of modern philosophy as an attempt to come to terms with evil. She reintroduces philosophy to anyone who is interested in questions of life and death, good and evil, suffering and sense. She studied philosophy at Harvard University and earned her Ph.D. also at Harvard University under the direction of John Rawls and Stanley Cavell.

Dr. Susan Neiman is currently the Director of the Einstein Forum, an institute that develops work on and between the borders of different fields of ethics and society, the past and the present, understanding nature and art and knowledge. Before becoming active at the Einstein Forum she taught at the Yale University and the Tel Aviv University.

Besides her activities at the Einstein Forum she is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, a member of Eurozine an European Network of Cultural Journals, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert-Einstein-Institut and a member on the Board of Advisors at the Center for Public Theology at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Susan Neimen published many articles, conference papers and books. In 1992 she published 'Slow Fire: Jewish Notes Berlin' (Schocken Books), in 1994 'The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant' (Oxford University Press), in 2002 'Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy' (Princeton University Press), in 2005 'Fremde sehen anders. Zur lage der Bundesrepublik' (Suhrkamp) and in 2008 'Moral Clarity: A guide for Grownup Idealists' (Harcourt).

Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, and Dissent. In Germany, she has written for Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Freitag, among other publications.

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Artikel Die Zeit, 2 januari 2003

Bewegung ist alles

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Cover van Moral Clarity

Moral Clarity

Title:
 
Moral Clarity
Subtitle:
 
A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists
Author:
 
Susan Neiman
Publisher:
 
Harcourt Trade Publishers
Book:
 
Hardcover, 480 pages
ISBN:
 
978-01-510-1197-1
 
 
 
 

The Enlightenment project of constructing a rational morality — pronounced dead by commentators on the left and right — has found a champion determined to resurrect it for the twenty-first century. Neiman acknowledges, with distress, that the moral vocabulary of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant now survives only among conservatives, whose religious orthodoxies and political agendas she rejects. But progressives must recover that vocabulary, she asserts, if they are to renew society's commitment to egalitarian justice. Ideologically disarmed by the collapse of Marxism and philosophically paralyzed by the radical scepticism of postmodernism, left-liberal thinkers risk surrendering the young to religious fundamentalists and cynical nihilists if they cannot reclaim the secular ideals of pioneering Enlightenment writers. Committed to the pursuit of happiness through reason, these writers defy their detractors' caricatures by soberly acknowledging the limits of human faculties, even voicing reverent gratitude for nature's inexplicable mysteries, while still cultivating hope that human endeavour can advance good and defeat evil. In such mature hope, Neiman finds the possibility for a twenty-first-century moral heroism that brings to our age both the protean adaptability of Homer's Odysseus and his resourceful resolve to shape his own future. An engaging analysis that will attract even readers who do not share Neiman's left-liberal premises. — Bryce Christensen

Cover van The Unity of Reason

The Unity of Reason

Title:
 
The Unity of Reason
Subtitle:
 
Rereading Kant
Author:
 
Susan Neiman
Publisher:
 
Oxford University Press
Book:
 
Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN:
 
978-01-951-1388-4
 
 
 
 

'The Unity of Reason' is the first major study of Kant's account of reason. Susan Neiman argues that Kant's philosophy reconceives the nature of reason, and she shows how that philosophy provides a basis for the unity of theory and practice. Exploring the historical background of Kant's notion of reason, as well as the role of reason in Kant's accounts of science, morality, religion, and philosophy, she provides a fundamentally new perspective on Kant's entire work.

Cover van Evil in Modern Thought

Evil in Modern Thought

Title:
 
Evil in Modern Thought
Subtitle:
 
An Alternative History of Philosophy
Author:
 
Susan Neiman
Publisher:
 
Princeton University Press
Book:
 
Paperback, 376 pages
ISBN:
 
978-06-911-1792-8
 
 
 
 

Evil threatens human reason, for it challenges our hope that the world makes sense. For eighteenth-century Europeans, the Lisbon earthquake was manifest evil. Today we view evil as a matter of human cruelty, and Auschwitz as its extreme incarnation. Examining our understanding of evil from the Inquisition to contemporary terrorism, Susan Neiman explores who we have become in the three centuries that separate us from the early Enlightenment. In the process, she rewrites the history of modern thought and points philosophy back to the questions that originally animated it.

Whether expressed in theological or secular terms, evil poses a problem about the world's intelligibility. It confronts philosophy with fundamental questions: Can there be meaning in a world where innocents suffer? Can belief in divine power or human progress survive a cataloging of evil? Is evil profound or banal? Neiman argues that these questions impelled modern philosophy. Traditional philosophers from Leibniz to Hegel sought to defend the Creator of a world containing evil. Inevitably, their efforts — combined with those of more literary figures like Pope, Voltaire, and the Marquis de Sade — eroded belief in God's benevolence, power, and relevance, until Nietzsche claimed He had been murdered. They also yielded the distinction between natural and moral evil that we now take for granted. Neiman turns to consider philosophy's response to the Holocaust as a final moral evil, concluding that two basic stances run through modern thought. One, from Rousseau to Arendt, insists that morality demands we make evil intelligible. The other, from Voltaire to Adorno, insists that morality demands that we don't.

Beautifully written and thoroughly engaging, this book tells the history of modern philosophy as an attempt to come to terms with evil. It reintroduces philosophy to anyone interested in questions of life and death, good and evil, suffering and sense.

Cover van Slow Fire

Slow Fire

Title:
 
Slow Fire
Subtitle:
 
Jewish Notes from Berlin
Author:
 
Susan Neiman
Publisher:
 
Schocken Books
Book:
 
Hardcover, 306 pages
ISBN:
 
978-08-052-4112-9
 
 
 
 

"Every time I see you I think of Dachau, baby." It was not what Susan Neiman expected to hear when she left Harvard in 1982 to spend a year in Berlin finishing her philosophy dissertation. But she soon discovered that history there has a way of intruding into even the most private moments. She stayed six years and wrote a book about something called Vergangenheitsverarbeitung, a word that describes the way Germans confront their past and the Nazis. It was a word that began to haunt Neiman, who is Jewish. Every conversation brought with it an invisible army of ghosts. A lover insisted he couldn't face her without confronting his Nazi parents. A country weekend turned into a quandary when the hostess broke out a bottle of '39 Sauternes, left over from her father's tour of service in occupied France. A rabbi explained the difficulty of sorting out applications to join the Jewish Community in a place where former Nazis may invent Jewish ancestry to mask their own guilt. But by then Neiman had fallen in love with Berlin: its Hinterhofe, where organ-grinders still play for coins thrown from kitchen windows, its Kneipen on every corner, where poets and barmaids drink beer until dawn, and the talk is charged with urgency and heady tension like no place on earth. With the mixture of irony and poignancy unique to Berlin itself, Slow Fire provides an intimate look at Berliners a generation after the war. In writing this remarkable memoir, locating a time and place as precisely as Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin did in another era, Neiman has composed an unforgettable ode to the city that, for better or worse, emblazons its century like no other.

Cover van Fremde sehen anders

Fremde sehen anders

Title:
 
Fremde sehen anders
Subtitle:
 
Zur Lage der Bundesrepublik
Author:
 
Susan Neiman
Publisher:
 
Suhrkamp
Book:
 
Paperback, 120 pages
ISBN:
 
978-35-184-1735-5
Language:
 
 German
 

Entgegen der politischen Depression hierzulande hat Deutschland im Ausland ein durchweg positives Image, erfährt Michael Naumann erstaunt aus Susan Neimans neuem Buch. Die amerikanische Philosophin und Leiterin des Einstein Forums in Potsdam hat ihre im Ausland lebendenen Freunde über ihre Meinungen zur Bundesrepublik gefragt und politisch unparteiische Meinungsumfragen studiert - Ergebnis: Deutschland ist, sieh an, ziemlich beliebt und beneidet! Das führt die Autorin, lesen wir, auf die rot-grüne Außenpolitik der letzten Jahre zurück, die etwa mit Zustimmungen zur EU-Erweiterung und Ablehnung des Irakkriegs im Ausland punkten konnte. Der Rezensent liest Neimans Erkentnisse in Zeiten des Wahlkampfs als eine Parteinahme nicht unbedingt gegen die Unionsparteien, "sehr wohl aber für ein Land, das zu betreten sie vor mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten noch eine erhebliche Überwindung gekostet hat".

Cover van Zum Glück

Zum Glück

Title:
 
Zum Glück
Author:
 
Susan Neiman, Matthias Kross
Publisher:
 
Akademie Verlag
Book:
 
Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN:
 
978-30-500-4057-8
Language:
 
German
 

Eine ernsthafte Erörterung der Frage nach dem Glück sollte nicht Rezepte geben wollen, denn sie gibt es längst. Zu fragen ist vielmehr: Was wissen wir nicht? Man sagt, die Philosophie begann mit der sokratischen Frage: Wie soll ich leben? Und die Frage nach dem Glück gehört sicherlich dazu. Doch das Staunen, das uns zur Philosophie treibt, entspringt nicht dem Glück selbst, sondern der Tatsache, dass wir so elend sind. Wären wir unsterblich und unser Leben frei von Schmerz, würde wohl niemand auf die Frage verfallen, was es eigentlich mit dem Glück auf sich hat. Demnach kommt es zur Philosophie, weil die Menschen unglücklich sind und das ändern möchten. Wer immer das Glück hat, in der besten aller möglichen Welten zu leben, wird sich nicht fragen: warum?

Mit Beiträgen aus den Bereichen der Geschichtswissenschaften, der Psychologie, Soziologie und Ökonomie soll in diesem Buch an die ursprünglich philosophische Diskussion angeknüpft und ein tieferes Verständnis des Glücks erlangt werden, als jede Disziplin für sich allein erreichen würde.

America from abroad
America from abroad