Department of Philosophy Lecture by Omri Boehm: Humanism as a Challenge

Press Release No. 7/2024
18 January 2024

To kick off the “Kant Year”, the German-Israeli philosopher will speak at the Department of Philosophy of Heidelberg University

2024 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Königsberg philosopher Immanuel Kant. Going beyond academic debates, Heidelberg University’s Department of Philosophy is taking this opportunity to ask: What has Kant to say to us today? To kick off the “Kant Year”, the German-Israeli philosopher Prof. Dr Omri Boehm, who is to receive this year’s Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, will speak in a public lecture on “Humanism as a Challenge”. The lecture, to be held in English, will take place on 25 January 2024 in Hall 14, New University, starting at 6 pm. The Heidelberg University Foundation is sponsoring the event.

Porträt: Omri Boehm

Heidelberg University’s Department of Philosophy has a long tradition of Kant research and in 2024 is also celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Kant interpreter Kuno Fischer (1824-1907), who taught at Heidelberg for more than three decades. Prof. Boehm will elucidate the significance of Kant for the present day. The speaker defends Kantian universalism, which challenges every individual to go beyond their own personal perspective and seek the universal and timeless validity of laws and rules. This approach can contribute to overcoming the increasing polarisation and hardening of standpoints in public debates, says the speaker. During a seminar series, philosophy students at Heidelberg University have already been discussing Kantian universalism with him and together they have worked out some of the content of the lecture, which Prof. Boehm will give in English. The following discussion will be in English and German.

Omri Boehm studied at the universities of Tel Aviv (Israel), Yale (USA) and Heidelberg and earned his doctorate at Yale University in 2009. He did post-doctoral research at LMU Munich. Since 2010 he has been Associate Professor for Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York (USA). His research focus, besides questions of philosophy of religion, is on Kant and early modern philosophy, particularly the philosophers Baruch de Spinoza and René Descartes. In addition, he writes on political theory, focussing on memory, citizenship and self-determination in Israel. Prof. Boehm regularly contributes political-philosophical essays to print media such as Die Zeit, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Haaretz. For his book “Radikaler Universalismus. Jenseits von Identität” (Radical Universalism. Beyond Identity) he is to receive the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, which will be awarded in March 2024.