Jean-Luc Marion Awarded Karl Jaspers Prize

Today the City and the University of Heidelberg presented the Karl Jaspers Prize to philosopher Professor Dr. Jean-Luc Marion

The new Karl Jaspers Prize laureate is Professor Dr. Jean-Luc Marion. Today the City and the University of Heidelberg presented the award to the French philosopher in the Great Hall of the Old University. The prize is awarded every three years in recognition of academic achievement of a philosophical nature. The Prize was created in 1983 by the City and the University of Heidelberg to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Heidelberg philosopher Karl Jaspers. It is endowed with 5,000 euros.

In his introductory address Rector Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel welcomed the recipient of the Prize, referring to him as one of today’s leading French philosophers and a thinker able to reconcile the divide between philosophy and theology, "two neighbouring and yet very different fields.”

Subsequently, the City of Heidelberg’s Chief Cultural Officer Dr. Joachim Gerner emphasised the significance of the Karl Jaspers Prize not only as an appreciation of philosophical excellence but also as a token of the gratifying cooperation between the University and the City of Heidelberg. He then went on to underline the achievements of Karl Jaspers in Heidelberg and to situate Jean-Luc Marion in the tradition of high-minded, committed philosophical endeavour that Jaspers stood for.

In his speech in honour of Professor Marion, Heidelberg philosopher and privatdozent Dr. Martin Gessmann noted that, alongside Jacques Derrida, the "figurehead of postmodernism”, he had succeeded in establishing a new direction in present-day French philosophy, one that throughout the world had come to be perceived as a genuine alternative in its own right.

In his speech of thanks, Professor Marion expressed the gratification he felt at having been awarded the Jaspers Prize. From a French perspective he saw the Prize as a confirmation of the immensely fruitful potential of French phenomenology. With this award, he said, his own work had been given the highest form of legitimacy that it could aspire to, recognition from one of the great universities of a country that for centuries had been the land of philosophy. This acknowledgement from Heidelberg that genuine, serious-minded philosophy came from France as much as from Germany he interpreted not only as a token of the friendship existing between these two civilisations and of their essentially like-minded approach, but also as an indication of the European dimension of the spirit animating them both, a spirit "that is a pledge of allegiance to their universal responsibility”.
Chanda Elzer

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