Language Criticism as a Critique of Morals. The Unclaimed Legacy of Karl Kraus
Language criticism forms the basis of Karl Kraus’s works and his critique of fin-de-siècle Viennese society, its legal system, and its press. For Kraus, language and morals are inseparably intertwined: »Was there ever a stronger moral safeguard than linguistic doubt?«
This project is based on the idea that the connection between language criticism and morals is the key to a meaningful understanding of Kraus’s work as a whole. If one accepts this thesis, a contrast emerges that counters common impressions of Kraus as an astute satirist on one hand and a conservative liberal or outright provocateur on the other.
The project proposes to show that such a revised interpretation of Kraus will provide a deeper understanding of his influence on thinkers such as Wittgenstein, Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, and Kafka – an influence that is dismissed all too often by literary critics as anecdotal or merely stylistic.
The aforementioned thinkers are commonly conveyed as being anti-moralists, moral skeptics, or advocates for criticism that is exclusively polemical: All they can do is tear down existing theories, but they refuse to propose solutions of their own. A fresh examination of these thinkers must therefore take into account the linguistic character of morality. This coupling of language criticism with moral critique will present an alternative to liberal discourse on morals centered predominantly on human rights. It aims to lend Adorno’s »negative moral philosophy« renewed relevance, in order to thoroughly comprehend Kraus’ »rewards of critical destruction«.
Klage, Theatralität und Gerechtigkeit. Karl Kraus und die Grundlagen des Rechts
Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Jägerstr. 22, 10117 Berlin, Raum 230; ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum
Middat ha-din and middat ha-rahamim in Scholem’s Poetics. Sources and Implications
ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Seminarraum 303
Menachem Lorberbaum (Tel Aviv): To Knowingly Sin. Sabbatianism and Hasidism Revisited
ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum