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Interdisciplinary Discussion: How Deep Into a Person Can We Look?

Press Release No. 248/2010
28 October 2010
Marsilius Kolleg holding interdisciplinary winter school for young scientists

The Marsilius Kolleg of Heidelberg University is holding a winter school entitled “The (non-) transparent human being”, in which young scientists will be examining the question, “How deep into a person can we look?” It will be held in February this coming year at Ruperto Carola and is intended for young researchers and doctoral candidates of various disciplines from Germany and abroad. The participants will have the opportunity to learn about current research avenues on the understanding of personality in discussions with experts as well as introduce their own research projects in Heidelberg. Applications are being accepted until 15 November 2010.

Traditional concepts of human personality are often based on the interplay of the “exterior” with the “interior”. On the one hand, an individual is a participant and role-player in a societal community, while on the other hand every person has a private, inner dimension on which his or her autonomy is based that is not directly accessible by others. As the organisers of the winter school point out, there is currently a shift being observed in the relation between the interior and exterior. Many people see their identity more in their perceived image and therefore expose themselves to the media and the public eye. At the same time, data from biotechnology and information technology are being increasingly used as the basis for the definition of personality. This is evident, for example, in genetics in the total sequencing of individual genomes, in brain research or in electronic or biological data tracks a person leaves behind.

The Marsilius Kolleg winter school, which is being supported by BASF SE, is approaching the topic mainly from the biological, philosophical, and theological angle as well as the psychological and sociological. Ethical and legal ramifications will also be addressed. The winter school is being directed by Heidelberg scientists Prof. Dr. Claus R. Bartram (human genetics), Associate Professor Dr. Monika Bobbert (history of medicine), Prof. Dr. Dieter Dölling (criminology), Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Fuchs (psychiatry, philosophy) and Prof. Dr. Klaus Tanner (theology). The number of participants in “The (non-) transparent human being. How deep into a person can we look?” is limited to 30. Applications can be submitted online until 15 November 2010 at

Tobias Just
Marsilius Kolleg
Phone (06221) 54-3980

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