Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Crisis and Recovery: What it Means to Orient Ourselves

Koeddermann Achim D..

Since Hegel it is a common trait of philosophy to see the process of civilization as a succession of dialectical relationships. However, contemporary philosophy has lost faith in such universal explanatory systems. A critical look back to Pre-modern responses to catastrophe and convulsion should allow to see today's catastrophes in a framework of traditional strategies for recovery. Philosophically, change and crisis should allow to develop a "Renaissance" and reorientation. Medieval crises include the decline and rise of the university, the plague, the persecution of minorities from Jews to Cathares, the demise of the Latin American indigenous cultures and various ecological crises of the middle ages. In this context, “Orientation” is the new/old task of a free university. Modern society needs the educational ideal as formulated by Immanuel Kant: "Enlightenment" as escape from a media- or "self inflicted tutelage". To understand the current global crisis of the university, it is necessary to orient oneself to where it all started in the early 12th century: the new old crisis of the university has to include a view from a continental perspective. Before Kant, Moses Mendelsohn had already pointed out that orientation is necessary for the condition of enlightenment. As Jose Ortega y Gassett claimed: "Crisis is a peculiar historical change" It provides a chance for orientation and responsibility.


Koeddermann Achim D.  (United States)
Associate Professor of Philosophy
State University of New York College at Oneonta Dept of Philosophy Oneonta, NY 13820
CEMERS-Binghamton University

Achim Köddermann teaches philosophy at the State University of New York, Oneonta. Köddermann is a specialist in applied philosophy, media ethics, human rights and theories of interpretation, although he claims to know that he knows nothing. His expertise has been used in the elaboration of codes against violence, for tolerance and in strategies for the intellectual integration of reunified Germany. He speaks English with more than one accent, and he is always speaking too fast. Besides a career as corporate planner for German Public Television, Köddermann held academic appointments at Sripatum University in Bangkok, Thailand, Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, Denver University and as a fellow of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Binghamton University. He is currently working on a volume on Crisis and Recovery from a medieval perspective.

  • Crisis renaissance
  • Medieval university orientation
Person as Subject
  • Kant ortega gasset Immanuel Mendelson

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)