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1st Bonn-Paris-Summer School (Centre de Recherches sur les Nouveaux Réalismes): “Realism about Norms?”



July 13-17, 2020


Keynote Addresses / Visiting Professors:

  • Prof. Dr. Robert Brandom (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Prof. Dr. Alice Crary (New School for Social Research)

  • Prof. Dr. Vincent Descombes (EHESS Paris)

  • Prof. Dr. Sandra Laugier (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)


Course description:

The core issue of the summer school arises from various traditional and more recent attacks on realism about norms. It seems to be hard to understand how norms can be a genuine part of reality and at the same time guide our thought and action in virtue of being represented by us as thus binding. If subjects are essentially involved in the realization of norms by way of context-sensitive thought and action, how is it possible to conceive of the binding power of the normative as grounded in the way things are? But if normative discourse carries no ontological commitments, how can we so much as bind ourselves to anything that we can at least represent and symbolize as if it had the minimal independence from our voluntaristic whim required for objective purport?

In light of this and related worries, we will discuss current debates in (meta-) ethics, philosophy of mind, and ontology drawing on the most recent proposals in New Realism which so far has mainly focused on issues in theoretical philosophy: What kinds of norms are there? Can there be objectively existing, yet mind-dependent norms? Is normative discourse genuinely objective despite the fact that it essentially addresses historically situated, human thinkers? Our goal is to arrive at a clearer sense of the normative implications of the return of realist proposals in contemporary European philosophy.



Please send the following by  February 29th, 2020  to:  [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.] :

  • CV of no more than 2 pages

  • Statement of intent of no more than 1 page. Please mention in your statement whether you are interested in attending and participating in several seminars on the topic in German, which will be offered should demand warrant.

  • Writing sample of no more than 2,000 words in either English, French or German.

  • All students must in addition have at least one degree in philosophy.

  • All texts and discussions will be in English.

  • The course will be open to a maximum of 40 participants.

  • It is possible to apply for this summer school and the 10 th International Summer School on German Idealism “ A Spirit of Trust . Brandom's Hegel ”(29 June - 10 July 2020) in one application (please indicate).


Please note that all participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation. Participants will be responsible for meals outside official summer school dinners. All usual services (internet and library access, etc.) will be provided.