Günter Zöller

Professor of Philosophy, University of Munich, Germany
John G. Diefenbaker Visiting Professor, McGill University, Canada

Born in 1954, Professor Günter Zöller studied philosophy at the University of Bonn, Germany; the École normale supérieure, Paris, France; and Brown University, U.S.A.; and received his doctoral degree in 1981 from the University of Bonn. He taught philosophy for 15 years in the U.S.A. and served as chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Iowa, before assuming his professorship at the University of Munich, Germany in 1999. Prof. Zöller is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Munich and John G. Diefenbaker Visiting Professor at McGill University, Canada.

rofessor Zöller has held visiting positions at various universities in the past two decades, including: Brown University (1993); Queen’s College of Oxford University (1994); University of Tübingen, Germany (1994); Harvard University (1995); École normale supérieure, Paris (1996); Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik, Croatia (2001); University of Padua, Italy (2007); and McGill University, Canada (2012–13). In 2013 he will be a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna, Italy.

world-renowned scholar of Kant and Fichte, Professor Zöller has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a Fellowship for University Teachers from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John G. Diefenbaker Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. Professor Zöller has served on the editorial board of many academic journals in North America, Europe, and Asia. He is also an editor-in-chief of the Complete Works of J. G. Fichte (Bavarian Academy of Sciences), and a member of the governing board of the Collected Works of Kant (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences).

n addition to over 260 articles in journals, essay collections and reference works published in 15 languages worldwide, Professor Zöller has authored, edited and co-edited 31 books, including Theoretische Gegenstandsbeziehung bei Kant (1984) (Objective Reference in Kant), Fichte’s Transcendental Philosophy (1998), Fichtes praktische Philosophie (2006) (Fichte’s Practical Philosophy), and Critical Spirit: Knowing and Acting in Kant, Fichte and Nietzsche (in Croatian, 2012).

s the seventeenth incumbent of the Tang Chun-I Visiting Professorship, Professor Zöller will give a public lecture on “The Ideal Republic: Kant and Plato,” offer a graduate seminar on “Republics Old and New: Political Freedom in Classical Greek and Modern European Philosophy” and present a departmental seminar on “The Real Republic: Hegel and Plato.”

The Ideal Republic: Kant and Plato

Monday, 8 Octoboer 2012
16:30 – 18:30 (Tea reception at 16:00)
Cho Yiu Conference Hall, University Administration Building, CUHK Main Campus

The lecture will assess the status and function of political society in ancient and modern philosophy by investigating the reference to Plato in Kant’s normative account of the state understood as “commonwealth” or “republic” (Gemeinwesen, Republik). Section one will place Plato’s Republic in the twofold context of ancient and modern political thought, focusing on the elitist critique of democratic rule and the modern revival of the republican tradition. Section Two will detail the state’s republican constitution as a practical idea in Kant, stressing the role of freedom in his conception of the modern polity. Section Three will introduce Kant’s extension of civil society from the political and juridical to the religious and ethical spheres.

Republics Old and New: Political Freedom in Classical Greek and Modern European Philosophy

5 Oct 2012 (Fri)
12 Oct 2012 (Fri)
19 Oct 2012 (Fri)
26 Oct 2012 (Fri)
2:30 – 5:15pm
LSK 201 (Room 201, Lee Shau Kee Building, Main Campus, CUHK)

The Real Republic: Hegel and Plato

Monday, 15 October 2012
16:30 – 18:30
Room 101, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK Main Campus

The seminar will analyze Hegel’s critical recourse to Plato in his theory of the modern state. Section One will contrast ancient and modern accounts of the relation between the private, the social and the political. Section Two will track Hegel’s critical discussion of Plato’s Republic in the Philosophy of Right focusing on personal property, individual freedom and the rule of law. Section Three will compare and contrast the philosophical dignity of the state in Hegel with the metaphysical justification of political justice in Plato.