First Annual International Summer School in German Philosophy for graduate students; 14.-25.6.2010, Bonn

First Annual International Summer School in German Philosophy

"Transcendental Ontology and Issues in Epistemology in Post-Kantian Idealism”

(June 14-25, 2010)


Professor Markus Gabriel
Chair in Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
Bonn University

Keynote Addresses:

Professor Paul Franks (University of Toronto)
Professor Espen Hammer (Temple University)

Course Description:

One of the aims of the summer school is to argue that the thinkers of Post-Kantian
Idealism defend a new ontology, one which lays out the conditions of possibility for
transcendental, higher-order thought. Despite Kant’s negative verdict on ontology, these conditions appear precisely ontological as soon as the existence of the alleged transcendental subject is confirmed. Since the world cannot be reduced to a strictly ”external world” in the Cartesian sense, the conditions of possibility for referring to determinate objects in the world come to be conceived as themselves determinate objects in the world. With this re-evaluation of the status of ontology in mind, we will read key texts by Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, with specific attention to the relation between epistemology and ontology. Through this ”ontologized” reading, we will attend to certain essential claims of each thinker: Hegel’s thinking not only substance as subject, but the subject as substance, the later Fichte’s re-introducing the notion of being into his Wissenschaftslehre, and finally, Schelling’s ontology of ”ground”, ”existence” and the ”will” in his Freiheitsschrift and Weltalter.

We will first examine the epistemological reasons for this ontological turn in
Post-Kantian Idealism (many of which are consequences of skeptical maneuvers) and then examine some of the basic aspects of this new ”transcendental ontology.” Classes will be seminar-style, with an emphasis on close textual analysis, five days a week in the mornings and evenings. Students will also have access to the Bonn University Philosophy Department Library.


Please send your application in English (CV and a short letter of intent) to
idealism2010(at) The deadline for applications is March 15, 2010. Participants must be graduate students. All texts and discussions will be in English. We will be inviting 50 students in total.


There are some stipends (€800-1000) available, which cover travel expenses and part of the accommodation, for foreign graduate students. To apply for a stipend, please send a short, seperate letter that explains your need for financial support.

Please note that there are no registration or course fees for the summer school.


We will help all participants find accommodation in Bonn (youth hostel, hotel rooms).
More information regarding housing will be made available soon. Students will be
responsible for meals, aside from two conference dinners.