Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
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"I may be ... sent to war ..., where I will be forced to kill people of foreign nationalities, who did no harm to me; where I may be mutilated or may be killed; where I may come to a place like Sewastopol, ... and the most painful is: I can be sent against my own countrymen and will have to kill my brother because of someone else's dynastic or governmental interests."
Lev Tolstoy: Sevastopol Sketches (1855/56)
"We need not try to decide whether this satirical inscription, (once found on a Dutch innkeeper's signboard above the picture of a churchyard) is aimed at mankind in general, or at the rulers of states in particular, unwearying in their love of war, or perhaps only at the philosophers who cherish the sweet dream of perpetual peace."
Immanuel Kant (1795)
"[…] more horrible than the death sown by war in the material world is the life it generates, almost without exception, in the mind of all human beings."
Fedor Stepun (1916)
Demonstration in Moscow, 2012. On the left poster you see "Centrizbirkom [short for the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation] - they are watching you" and the portraits of Aristotel, H. Arendt, J. Locke und I. Kant. On the right one is a photomontage of Immanuel Kant and Superman with a quotation of the Categorical Imperative: »Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.«
The relation between Russia and Germany might never have been free of conflicts. Is it astonishing that the third quotation comes from a Russian Neo-Kantian with German roots, who served in the Russian army in the First World War - after he had started the journal "Logos" (Saint Petersburg / Tübingen) together with the German colleagues Max Weber and Georg Simmel in 1910? Maybe. On both sides Kant's sweet 'dream' of perpetual peace was dreamed and confronted with a reality impected by war.
The Russo-German philosophical Research Group aims to show that there were constructive debates and cooperation besides political conflicts. Intellectual relations between Russians and Germans were our starting point and are meant to be a future topic.
We are a group of students and graduates at Humboldt University, Berlin. We meet to plan academic collaborative or individual projects or to organize symposia, film screenings, lectures and more. Though we started as a research group of Russian and German students with philosophical interests we are neither confined to Russo-German topics nor to philosophy. All topics from the humanities are welcome!
230 years of
answering the question: What is enlightenment?