"Critical Idealism and Messianism: From Hermann Cohen to Walter Benjamin and beyond"
Hermann Cohen was a leading figure and an inspirational source for a whole generation of German-Jewish thinkers from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Cohen’s epistemology – his critical idealism – has been crucial not only for other members of the Marburg School such as Paul Natorp and Ernst Cassirer, but for anyone convinced, as Cohen was, that pure thought is pure because its origin is entirely within itself. Starting from his epistemology – the idea as hypothesis – Cohen devises an ethics where moral progress occurs within the horizon of messianism. Messianism and messianic temporality are cornerstones not only of Cohen’s ethics and philosophy of religion, but also for authors such as Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, and Walter Benjamin. Although they were at times harshly critical of Cohen’s work, they still considered it fruitful and influential: Hermann Cohen was for them «the faithful guide, [...] the one who by far surpassed in spiritual power all the other German professors of philosophy of his generation»—just to quote another representative of that same generation, Leo Strauss. Even today, Cohen’s legacy is anything but exhausted: new impulses for the 21st century are constantly growing in its track.
Critical Idealism and Messianism. From Hermann Cohen to Walter Benjamin and beyond
19-20 October 2015 Aula Matassi Dipartimento di Filosofia, Comunicazione e Spettacolo Università di Roma Tre Via Ostiense 234, Roma
Monday, October 19, 2015 9.30 Welcome and Greetings Chair: Andrea Poma 10.00 Tamara Tagliacozzo (Università di Roma Tre, Italy): Experience and infinite Task. Walter Benjamin and Hermann Cohen
Coffee 11.00 Giacomo Marramao (Università di Roma Tre, Italy): Prophetische Erfahrung und messianische Konstellation: ein Vergleich zwischen Cohen und Benjamin 11.45 Jack Bemporad (Center for Interreligious Understanding, USA): The topic of Suffering in the Midrash, as interpreted by Henry Slonimsky 12.30 Lunch
Chair: 14.30 Damiano Roberi (Università di Torino, Italy): The uncertainty of the Sphinx: Nature as Threshold in Benjamin’s reflections 15.00 Peter Fenves (Northwestern University, USA): Experience, Thought, Experiment: From Cohen to Benjamin on the Relation of Science to the Coming Philosophy
Coffee 16.00 Roy Dar-Amir (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel): Aufgabe and Revolution: Thinking (about) history in Cohen and Benjamin 16.30 Renate Schindler (Berlin, Germany): Hermann Cohen im Konfliktfeld von Politik, Geschichte und Messianismus: Zur Aktualität der kulturphilosophischen und erkenntnislogischen Reichweite der Idee des ewigen Friedens 17.00 Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany): Critique of State Violence in Benjamin and Hermann Cohen 18.00 Mitgliederversammlung der Hermann-Cohen-Gesellschaft
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Chair: 9.30 Ezio Gamba (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy): Messianism in Art. Jewish and Christian religious art in Cohen’s Thought 10.00 Iveta Leitane (Bonn University, visiting faculty, Germany/ Center for Judaic Studies, Riga, Latvia): Samuel Atlas (1889 - 1978) and the modal reinterpretation of Hermann Cohen’s understanding of Messianism) Coffee 10.45 Julia Ng (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK): Acts of Time: Cohen and Benjamin on Mathematics and History 11.15 Eric Jacobson (University of Roehampton, UK): Walter Benjamin and the Religion of Reason) 11.45 Fabrizio Desideri (Università di Firenze, Italy): Messianica ratio. Affinities and differences in Cohen and Benjamin's messianic rationalism
14.15 Irene Kajon (Università La Sapienza, Italy): Paradoxa in Messianic Idea. The Influence of Cohen on Scholem's Concept of Messianism 15.00 Bruno Moroncini (Università di Salerno, Italy): Il messianico fra Derrida e Benjamin Coffee 16.00 Reinier Munk (President of the HCG; VU Amsterdam, Netherlands): Benjamin’s Cohen