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Husserl and Heidegger Remain in Freiburg

On the filling of the “professorship for philosophy with an emphasis on modern and contemporary philosophy”

Freiburg, Mar 10, 2015

Husserl and Heidegger Remain in Freiburg

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The University of Freiburg has long been and remains today a place of research and teaching on Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The Husserl Archive, founded in 1950, and the Bernhard Waldenfels Archive, established in 2009, make the university into an internationally recognized center for phenomenological research. Scholars in Freiburg edited volumes of Husserl’s complete works and published the first Husserl dictionary in the German language. In January 2015, the Husserl Archive organized the international “Husserl-Arbeitstage” together with the Husserl archives in Leuven/Belgium and Cologne as well as the first “Husserl Lecture” in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für phänomenologische Forschung. In the past ten years, around 90 scholars from 30 countries have conducted research in Freiburg on topics related to Freiburg phenomenology, which encompasses Husserl, Heidegger, and the further development of their theories in contemporary philosophy. Critical analysis of Husserl and Heidegger is by no means conducted solely at the archive or by professors with a particular emphasis and their assistants – and both philosophers are also taught as part of the standard curriculum at the department.

The Department of Philosophy has four W3 professorships and currently one non-tenure track W1 professorship and one tenure track W1 professorship. The W3 professorship for “philosophy with an emphasis on modern and contemporary philosophy” (“Philosophie mit dem Schwerpunkt Neuzeit und Moderne”) will become vacant in 2015 with the retirement of the current holder. The Department of Philosophy already decided in 2013 to retain the emphasis on “modern and contemporary philosophy” and to advertise a tenure track W1 professorship. This means that the W1 professor will be promoted to the vacant W3 professorship following a six-year evaluation process. No professorship at the Department of Philosophy will be dropped, and the W3 professorship in question will continue to be funded as previously. The fact that logic and philosophy of language are included in the description of the professorship does not mean that it will be devoted to the analytical tradition of philosophy: There is also a tradition that is compatible with the Freiburg profile, as it includes classical logic as well as classical philosophy of language while at the same time prominently featuring contemporary topics extending to Heidegger and Husserl. In addition, the classical orientation of the vacant professorship ensures that it has a thematic link to all other professorships at the department.

The filling of the vacant professorship and the research assistant position connected with it is included in the university’s structure and development plan. This plan was discussed in all relevant governing bodies at the university – Faculty, Rectorate, Senate – and was passed by the University Council in December 2013 and approved by the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg in February 2015. The University of Freiburg has had outstanding experiences with W1 professorships: They are an attractive career option for young researchers and an important means of achieving success in the international competition for the brightest minds. This enables the university to implement the “Recommendations of the Science Council on Career Goals and Paths at Universities” and provides it with an effective instrument for promoting equal opportunity in the form of junior professorships.

To recapitulate: Husserl und Heidegger remain central points of reference for philosophy in Freiburg – and the advertisement of the vacant W3 professorship of “philosophy with an emphasis on modern and contemporary philosophy” as a tenure track W1 professorship is a prominent example of the university’s overall strategy of providing attractive career paths for outstanding young researchers.

Printable version (pdf) of the press release.