Alexander Düttmann: "No Thinker Understands Himself"
In his lecture "What is Called Thinking?" Martin Heidegger differentiates between the thinkable and the unthinkable: a thought is characterized especially thereby that it has also the developement of an unthinkable. The lecture and the seminar will elaborate on this way of thinking the thinking.
Under the direction of the German philosopher Christoph Menke and in collaboration with Chus Martínez, the seminar What is Thinking? Or a Taste that Hates Itself is a series of twelve two-part sessions focusing on the relationship between art and philosophy, between thinking and perceiving. It is an attempt to address the questions and the methods of philosophy for those who are curious but not necessarily close to the field. Each session is divided into a public lecture every Monday evening in the Ständehaus, followed by a more intimate discussion seminar on Tuesday mornings in the Zwehrenturm of the Fridericianum.
In September 1959, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno gave a lecture on the occasion of documenta 2. A few days earlier, he had mentioned in a letter to Max Horkheimer his interest in visiting the exhibition, in seeing what culture—art—could do after the greatest collapse that the country and the world had ever experienced. This lecture, "The Idea of New Music” (Die Idee der neuen Musik), is of key significance to dOCUMENTA (13). It is read and commented upon by Albrecht Wellmer at the opening of the exhibition and by Carla Harryman at the end, as the inspiration and source for a reflection on the importance of deeds, like art, and thoughts, like philosophy, that are less driven by aims and results, than guided by values.
The What is Thinking? seminar is a rigorous meditation on language, on meaning, on the limits and possibilities of skepticism, on imagination as the ground for social democracy, and on art and experience. It aims to contribute to an understanding of the importance of an art exhibition with the history and tradition of documenta, as a crucial space for the community to respond to questions of ethical and aesthetic significance.
The seminar sessions can be attended individually or in full. Texts and other materials for the sessions are available online.
Text: Martin Heidegger, "Was heisst Denken?," Tuebingen: Max Niemeyer 1971
Alexander Düttmann is a philosopher with an interest in aesthetics and art, but also in moral and political philosophy. Currently, he is Professor of Philosophy and Visual Culture at Goldsmiths (University of London). Alexander Düttmann's research in the past few years has been focused on the philosophical problem of deconstruction, the work of Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, the concept of exaggeration in philosophy, and Adorno’s moral philosophy. His book Derrida and I. The Problem of Deconstruction, was published in German by Transcript Verlag (Bielefeld 2008).