Andreas Dorschel

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Andreas Dorschel
Andreas Dorschel (2010).jpg
Born 1962
Wiesbaden, Germany
Residence Austria
Nationality German
Alma mater Goethe University Frankfurt
University of Vienna
Awards Caroline-Schlegel-Preis 2014
Era 20th- / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy

Andreas Dorschel (born 1962) is a German philosopher. Since 2002, he has been professor of aesthetics and head of the Institute for Music Aesthetics at the University of the Arts Graz (Austria).

Background[edit]

Andreas Dorschel was born in 1962 in Wiesbaden, West Germany. From 1983 on, he studied philosophy, musicology and linguistics at the universities of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) (MA 1987, PhD 1991). In 2002, the University of Bern (Switzerland) awarded him the Habilitation degree (post-doctoral lecturing qualification). Dorschel has taught at universities in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the UK.[1] At University of East Anglia Norwich (UK), he was a colleague of writer W.G. Sebald.[2] Dorschel was Visiting Professor at Emory University (1995) and at Stanford University (2006).[3] On Dorschel’s initiative, the Graz Institute for Music Aesthetics received its name in 2007.[4] Between 2008 and 2017, Dorschel was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF);[5] from 2012 to 2017 he joined the Review Panel of the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) Joint Research Programme of the European Science Foundation (ESF) (Strasbourg / Brussels).[6] From 2010 on, he has been on the Advisory Board of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group.[7]

Research[edit]

  • Theories of subjectivity
  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophy of music
  • History of ideas
  • Styles of reasoning

Work[edit]

In his philosophical studies, Dorschel explores, both in a systematic and historical vein, the interconnectedness of thought and action. His work has been influenced by philosophers Denis Diderot, Arthur Schopenhauer and R. G. Collingwood.[8]

Will[edit]

In Die idealistische Kritik des Willens [German Idealism’s Critique of the Will] (1992) Dorschel defends an understanding of freedom as choice against Kant’s and Hegel’s ethical animadversions. Following a method of “critical analysis”,[9] Dorschel objects both to Kant’s claim that “a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same thing” (“ein freier Wille und ein Wille unter sittlichen Gesetzen einerlei”)[10] and to Hegel’s doctrine that “freedom of the will is rendered real as law” (“die Freiheit des Willens als Gesetz verwirklicht”).[11] What renders freedom of the will real, Dorschel argues, is rather to exercise choice sensibly.[12] Unlike other critics of idealism, Dorschel does not endorse determinism. Determinism, if we are to make sense of the idea, would have to be correlated with the notion of prediction. Predictions, Dorschel argues, need a basis that is not affected by their being made. But just as I cannot overtake my own shadow, I cannot predict my own future behaviour from my present state. For I would alter my state by making the prediction.[13] This line of reasoning can do without Kant’s opposition of determinism about appearances and freedom of the thing-in-itself.[14]

Prejudice[edit]

Rethinking Prejudice (2000) examines the Enlightenment’s struggle against prejudices[15] and the Counter-Enlightenment’s partisanship in favour of them. “Dorschel wants to subvert that controversy by way of refuting an assumption shared by both parties” (“Dorschel will diesen Streit unterlaufen, indem er eine von beiden geteilte Annahme widerlegt”),[16] to wit, that prejudices are bad or good, false or true because they are prejudices. As Richard Raatzsch puts it, Dorschel “seeks out the common source of both parties’ errors through rendering each position as strong as possible” (“den gemeinsamen Quellen der Irrtümer beider Seiten nachgeht, indem er sie so plausibel wie möglich zu machen sucht”).[17] Prejudices, Dorschel concludes, can be true or false, intelligent or stupid, wise or foolish, positive or negative, good or bad, racist or humanist – and they possess none of these features simply qua prejudices.[18] The conclusion’s significance derives from the fact that it is part and parcel of “an account which preserves something of the common-sense notion of prejudice, rather than an abstract list of necessary and sufficient conditions that risks neglecting what people have historically meant and continue to mean by the term.”[19]

Design[edit]

In Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren [Design – The Aesthetics of Useful Things] (2002), Dorschel probes different ways of assessing artefacts. He “observed that ‘the concepts of the useful and [of] purpose have been replaced in the philosophy of design by that of function’”, Ute Poerschke states in a dense summary of the monograph.[20] ‘Function’ seemed to maintain the older meaning, but covered a bias towards technology. “The question of ‘how’ (how does this machine function?) replaced the question of ‘what’ (for what purpose?). Purpose embodies the question of ‘what’; technology the question of ‘how’. Dorschel criticized that function has a diffuse meaning, under which one could understand both purpose and technology and concluded that because of this diffuse meaning it is advisable to consider ‘not function, as modern functionalism did, but rather purpose and technology as the basic concepts of a theory of design’.”[21] Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren, according to Christian Demand, features “a systematic philosophy of design that does not settle for mere propaedeutics”.[22] Ludwig Hasler characterizes Dorschel’s book as a “cure via argumentative precision” (“argumentative Präzisionskur”), setting up “a controversy [...] both with modern functionalism, the movement that revolutionized design for a century, and with postmodernism, that sportive celebration of whimsy in matters of form” (“eine Streitschrift […] gegen den Funktionalismus der Moderne, der ein Jahrhundert lang die Gestaltung der Gebrauchsdinge revolutionierte, wie gegen die Postmoderne, die sich auf den Spass an der Beliebigkeit der Formen kaprizierte”).[23]

Metamorphosis[edit]

Dorschel’s Verwandlung. Mythologische Ansichten, technologische Absichten [Mutation. Mythological Views, Technological Purposes] (2009) represents a philosophical history of the idea of metamorphosis – “shaded in many nuances”.[24] Metamorphosis, Dorschel points out, defies analysis in terms of change. Change is supposed to be a rational pattern: A thing remains what it is while its features alter. But where does a thing cease to be that thing, where do its features commence? Whatever were that thing devoid of its features? Hence, historically, the concept of change was shadowed by the idea of metamorphosis or mutation. Dorschel highlights this idea, setting forth – in four case studies – the character of metamorphosis in Graeco-Roman mythology, in the New Testament, in modern alchemy, and, finally, in current genetic engineering and synthetic biology.

Ideas[edit]

In his 2010 volume Ideengeschichte [History of Ideas], Dorschel explains key issues of method in his research fields.[25] New ideas are invented in response to difficulties, obstacles or perplexities; from the latter, Dorschel suggests, historians can make sense of the former.[26] It has been considered “one of the strengths of Dorschel’s monograph”[27] to overcome Quentin Skinner’s constricting doctrine that ideas are “essentially linguistic”.[28] Dorschel asserts: “Words are just one medium of ideas among others; musicians conceive their products in tones, architects in spaces, painters in form and colour, mathematicians in numbers or, on a more abstract level, in functions” (“Worte sind nur ein Medium von Ideen unter anderen; Musiker denken in Tönen, Architekten in Räumen, Maler in Formen und Farben, Mathematiker in Zahlen oder, abstrakter, in Funktionen.”).[29] In a way that breaks new ground, Dorschel proposes, as Eberhard Hüppe points out, to analyse ideas not just in terms of time, but also in terms of space.[30]


Retrieving philosophical genres[edit]

Dorschel has taken a critical stance towards a blinkered academicism in philosophy.[31] He considers the narrowing-down of philosophical writing to articles and monographs a drain especially on epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. The now conventional forms of exposition leave little room for presenting a position while, as the argument develops, keeping various degrees of distance from the position presented. To that purpose, tapping richer resources of (dramatic and epic) irony as well as a heuristic of fiction, Dorschel has revived a number of genres such as the letter, dialogue, monologue and philosophical tale (‘conte philosophique’) that had flourished during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment,[32] but fell out of favour with modern academic philosophers.[33]

Awards[edit]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles[edit]

Letters, dialogues, monologues, philosophical tales[edit]

  • Totengespräch zwischen Franz Joseph Haydn aus Rohrau und Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern aus Wien in der musikalischen Unterwelt. In: Federico Celestini / Andreas Dorschel, Arbeit am Kanon: Ästhetische Studien zur Musik von Haydn bis Webern. Universal Edition, Vienna – London – New York, NY 2010 (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 51), pp. 9–15
  • Offener Brief an Magister Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten. In: Philip Alperson / Andreas Dorschel, Vollkommenes hält sich fern. Ästhetische Näherungen. Universal Edition, Vienna – London – New York, NY 2012 (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 53), pp. 9–15
  • Ein verschollen geglaubter Brief der Korinther an Paulus. In: Merkur 67 (2013), no. 12, pp. 1125–1134[44] (preview)
  • Ich bin so frei. Ein Gespräch. In: grazkunst 01.2016, pp. 15–16 (pdf online)
  • Der Ursprung des Vorurteils. Nachrede zum Zauberberg. In: Variations 24 (2016), pp. 191–202 (pdf online)
  • Arkona. Gespräch über die Mythologie. In: Athenäum 26 (2016), pp. 161–174
  • Phantomleiber der Abstraktion. In: Zeno 37 (2017), pp. 151–166
  • Die Verstocktheit der Ungläubigen, In: Merkur 71 (2017), no. 2, pp. 85–92 (preview)
  • Unstern. Aus Franz Liszts hinterlassenen Papieren. In: Musik, Sinn und Unsinn. Festschrift anläßlich der Hommage an Alfred Brendel. Konzerthaus Berlin, Berlin 2017, pp. 54–59
  • Venere d’Urbino. Florentiner Gespräch über die Schönheit. In: Anna Maniura und Matthias Deußer (eds.), Neue Literatur 2017/2018. Frankfurter Verlagsgruppe, Frankfurt/M. – London – New York, NY 2017, pp. 253–269
  • Hero & Administrator: A Dialogue. In: Marie-Therese Sauer (ed.), Beginnings. Uni≡verse, Vienna 2018, pp. 91–100
  • Music as Play: A Dialogue. In: Paulo de Assis (ed.), Virtual Works – Actual Things: Essays in Musical Ontology. Leuven University Press, Leuven 2018 (Orpheus Institute Series), pp. 115–133 (pdf online)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Axel Schniederjürgen (ed.), art. “Dorschel, Andreas”. In: Kürschners Deutscher Gelehrten-Kalender 2014. Bio-bibliographisches Verzeichnis deutschsprachiger Wissenschaftler der Gegenwart. 26th edition, vol. 1 (A–G). De Gruyter, Berlin – Boston, Mass. 2014, p. 663.
  2. ^ Letters by W.G. Sebald to Andreas Dorschel from 1997 in the German Literature Archive Cf. Jahrbuch der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft 59 (2015), pp. 465–466.
  3. ^ Distinguished Visiting Austrian Chair Professors
  4. ^ Before it had been called, somewhat awkwardly, ‘Institut for Valuation Research’ (‘Institut für Wertungsforschung’). Dorschel’s predecessor, though, complained about the re-naming; see Otto Kolleritsch, Hier wird’s Ereignis. Kritische Ästhetik zwischen künstlerischer Praxis und Forschung mit der Kunst. Leykam, Graz 2014, pp. 339–340.
  5. ^ Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Board of Trustees Archived January 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF), Wir fördern Zukunft. FWF, Vienna 2017, p. 64.
  6. ^ European Science Foundation HERA Review Panel[dead link]
  7. ^ Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group
  8. ^ Following Collingwood, Dorschel rejects technical terminology in philosophy, aiming instead at “that expressiveness, that flexibility, that dependence upon context, which are the hall-marks of a literary use of words” (R.G. Collingwood, An Essay on Philosophical Method. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1933, p. 207).
  9. ^ Dieter Hüning, Die “Härte des abstracten Rechts”. Person und Eigentum in Hegels Rechtsphilosophie. In: Dieter Hüning, Gideon Stiening and Ulrich Vogel (eds.), Societas rationis. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2002, pp. 235–262, p. 238: “kritische Analyse”.
  10. ^ Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten AB 98.
  11. ^ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson. Felix Meiner, Leipzig 1923ff., p. 368.
  12. ^ Short version of the argument in English: Andreas Dorschel, The Authority of the Will. In: The Philosophical Forum 33 (2002), no. 4, pp. 425–441.
  13. ^ Cf. Andreas Dorschel, Zur Kritik des totalisierenden Erklärungsprogramms. In: Vierteljahresschrift Theologie und Philosophie 63 (1988), no. 3, pp. 384–395.
  14. ^ Cf. Andreas Dorschel, Die idealistische Kritik des Willens. Versuch über die Theorie der praktischen Subjektivität bei Kant und Hegel. Felix Meiner, Hamburg 1992 (Schriften zur Transzendentalphilosophie 10), pp. 118–121.
  15. ^ Setting prejudice against experience, in particular, misses the point. “As Andreas Dorschel has pointed out in this context, language itself, necessary to articulate experience even to ourselves, is saturated with prejudice” (Martin Kagel, A Blank Slate. In: Publications of the English Goethe Society 79 (2010), no. 2, pp. 79–94, p. 92).
  16. ^ Richard Raatzsch, Über Wesen und Wert der Vorurteile. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 50 (2002), no. 4, pp. 646–653, p. 652.
  17. ^ Richard Raatzsch, Über Wesen und Wert der Vorurteile. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 50 (2002), no. 4, pp. 646–653, p. 653. Cf. Richard Raatzsch, Autorität und Autonomie. Mentis, Paderborn 2007, pp. 95, 140–141.
  18. ^ Andreas Dorschel, Rethinking Prejudice. Ashgate, Aldershot (UK) – Burlington (USA) – Singapore – Sydney 2000, p. xii.
  19. ^ Matthew Ratcliffe, Rethinking Prejudice by Andreas Dorschel. In: Philosophical Books 43 (2002), no. 2, pp. 156–157, p. 156.
  20. ^ Ute Poerschke, Architectural Theory of Modernism: Relating Functions and Forms. Routledge, London – New York, NY 2016, p. 22, referring to Andreas Dorschel, Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren. 1st ed., Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg 2002 (Beiträge zur Philosophie, Neue Folge), p. 38.
  21. ^ Ute Poerschke, Architectural Theory of Modernism: Relating Functions and Forms. Routledge, London – New York, NY 2016, p. 22, referring to Andreas Dorschel, Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren. 1st ed., Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg 2002 (Beiträge zur Philosophie, Neue Folge), p. 40.
  22. ^ Christian Demand, Theoriemüdigkeit. In: Merkur 71 (2017), no. 6, pp. 56–65, p. 58: “Einer der wenigen mir bekannten Versuche einer nicht nur propädeutisch gemeinten systematischen Philosophie der Gestaltung stammt von Andreas Dorschel”.
  23. ^ Ludwig Hasler, Die Schönheit der Büroklammer. In: Die Weltwoche 70 (2002), no. 29, pp. 60–61. On Dorschel’s line of argument cf. also Thilo Schwer, Produktsprachen. Design zwischen Unikat und Industrieprodukt. Transcript, Bielefeld 2014 (Kunst- und Designwissenschaft 2), pp. 144, 146, 194, 218, 300; Johannes Lang, Prozessästhetik. Birkhäuser, Basel 2015, pp. 69, 156; Annika Frye, Design und Improvisation. Produkte, Prozesse und Methoden. Transcript, Bielefeld 2017, p. 164.
  24. ^ Wolfgang Sandberger, Identität, Stabilität und Historizität. In: Musik-Konzepte N.F. XII/2011, pp. 73–89, p. 82: “in vielen Schattierungen abgestuft”; cf. p. 87.
  25. ^ Cf. Tim-Florian Goslar, Andreas Dorschel: Ideengeschichte. In: dis|kurs 8 (2012), no. 2, pp. 154–159.
  26. ^ Klaus Ridder, Literaturwissenschaftliche Ideen- und Problemgeschichte. In: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur 140 (2011), no. 4, pp. 442–463, p. 447, referring to Andreas Dorschel, Ideengeschichte. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, p. 90.
  27. ^ Jan-Hendryk de Boer, Unerwartete Absichten – Genealogie des Reuchlinkonflikts. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2016 (Spätmittelalter Humanismus Reformation 94), p. 142.
  28. ^ Quentin Skinner, Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas. In: James Tully (ed.), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics. Polity Press, Cambridge 1988, pp. 29–67, p. 64. Skinner himself deviated from his orthodoxy in Ambrogio Lorenzetti: The Artist as Political Philosopher. In: Proceedings of the British Academy 72 (1986), pp. 1–56.
  29. ^ Andreas Dorschel, Ideengeschichte. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, p. 43. Cf. Ernst Müller/Falko Schmieder, Begriffsgeschichte und historische Semantik. Ein kritisches Kompendium. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2016, p. 186.
  30. ^ Eberhard Hüppe, Urbanisierte Musik. Eine Studie über gesellschaftliche Determinanten musikalischer Raumproduktion. Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster 2012 (Wissenschaftliche Schriften der WWU Münster XVIII/2), p. 103. Cf. Andreas Dorschel, Ideengeschichte. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, pp. 23–24, 26–29, 43, 47, 50, 73-75, 82, 89–90, 111, 136–137, 149, 151, 179, 184, 198.
  31. ^ Cf., for instance, his objections to a "bureaucratic" ("bürokratisch") manner of reasoning in his essay Ins Unklare. In: Merkur 72 (2018), no. 5, pp. 83–91, specifically pp. 87–89.
  32. ^ Cf. Robert Black, The Philosopher and Renaissance Culture. In: The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy, ed. James Hankins, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007, pp. 13–29, p. 26; Stéphane van Damme, Philosophe/Philosopher. In: The Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment, ed. Daniel Brewer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2014, pp. 153–166, p. 158; on the connection, see George Huppert, The Style of Paris: Renaissance Origins of the French Enlightenment. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind. 1999
  33. ^ An influential plea for an exclusion of such forms from philosophy “in the professional sense” was launched by Willard Van Orman Quine in Theories and Things. Belknap Harvard, Cambridge Mass. 1981, p. 192. In “professional” discourse, authorial voice is supposed to be unambiguous; wherever multiple voices enter, this is seen as a threat.
  34. ^ Forschungspreis des Landes Steiermark 2011
  35. ^ Caroline-Schlegel-Preis 2014
  36. ^ Cf. Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann, Praxis und Theorie der Kanonisierung in Nachbardisziplinen: Musikwissenschaft. In: Gabriele Rippl / Simone Winko (eds.), Handbuch Kanon und Wertung. Theorien, Instanzen, Geschichte. J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart – Weimar 2013, pp. 371–379, p. 378.
  37. ^ Philip Alperson's page on website of College of Liberal Arts, Temple University Philadelphia, PA Archived January 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ In a résume of Dorschel’s article for Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques (vol. 84 (2000), p. 187), André Robinet (1922–2016) said: "Si l’opposition entre émotion et entendement ou entre le domaine des affects et celui de la réflexion paraît évidente et habituelle, c’est néanmoins un tort de durcir l’opposition, car dans l’émotion il y a de la pensée. De la même manière, toute pensée, toute réflexion sont inséparables des affects qui les soutiennent. C’est une fine analyse de ces domaines que présente cet article."
  39. ^ By way of summary, Dittmar Dahlmann says: “In a recent study of space and place, Andreas Dorschel has, I believe, cogently argued that reference to space (even in science) presupposes place and, thus, a body locating itself. Retrieving an Aristotelian thought, Dorschel points out that only place, not space, features ‘top’ and ‘bottom’, ‘right’ or ‘left’, ‘back’ or ‘front’” (Die Weite Sibiriens und des Ozeans in Berichten und Aufzeichnungen von Forschungsreisenden von der Mitte des 18. bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. In: Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 63 (2014), no. 1, pp. 55–73, pp. 57–58).
  40. ^ Cf. Thomas Steinfeld, Der Welt abhandenkommen. Ein erstaunlicher Aufsatz: Andreas Dorschel über Eskapismus. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung 68, no. 39 (16 February 2012), p. 11. – For an application of Dorschel’s ideas on Nietzsche’s poetry see Michael Karlsson Pedersen, Zittern und Zweifel. Über musikalischen Eskapismus in Nietzsches ‘Venedig’-Gedicht. In: Christian Benne/Claus Zittel (ed.), Nietzsche und die Lyrik. Ein Kompendium. Metzler, Stuttgart 2017, pp. 299–309, specifically pp. 300–301, cf. p. 308.
  41. ^ Cf. Martin Gessmann, Das Urgestein der Moderne. In: Philosophische Rundschau 60 (2013), no. 1, pp. 1–34, pp. 30–31.
  42. ^ In terms of the theory of speech acts, Dorschel argues “that curses ever oscillate between the illocutionary and the perlocutionary. Someone who curses does not just voice words that represent items in the world, Andreas Dorschel points out; the curse is itself an ‘item’ in the world that is meant to hit the person cursed like a missile. In order to hit, the missile must have been triggered from the position of a sovereign – and it is the curse that lends itself to such empowerment, rendering the shooter sovereign.” Georg Mein, Aporien von Eid und Fluch: Unmögliche Versprechen in Goethes ‘Faust’. In: Modern Language Notes 131 (2016), no. 3, pp. 630–655, p. 642.
  43. ^ Georg Seeßlen and Markus Metz see the gist of Dorschel's argument in the idea that “dependence [Abhängigkeit]” is (or at least presents itself as) “power [Macht] transformed into necessity [Notwendigkeit]” (Freiheit und Kontrolle. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2017, p. 331).
  44. ^ Cf. Gustav Seibt, Die Häresie der Abgrenzungen. Andreas Dorschel entwirft ein korinthisches Christentum. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung 69, no. 293 (19 December 2013), p. 14. Seibt stresses the boldness ("Kühnheit") of the text.

External links[edit]