Objectivity in the Humanities

Together with a group of distinguished guests (see poster) we will discuss the nature and scope of objectivity in the humanities. Our fundamental question is how and in what way the methodologies and target-system of the various disciplines classified as “the humanities” achieve their specific type of objectivity. What is to claim knowledge and to justify knowledge claims with respect to the objects of the humanities? One hypothesis we will explore is the idea that objects of the humanities are artifacts and, thus, embodied ‘objective’ meanings whose sensory dimensions are entangled with synchronic (trans-cultural) and diachronic (historical) variation conditions. The humanities are characterized by a specific subjectivity, one that is capable of grasping itself in the shape of objects. These artifacts cannot be studied from anything even faintly approaching a “view from nowhere” (Nagel), but rather lend themselves to models that incorporate hermeneutic and other types of multiperspectivity (a “view from everywhere”, as Lorraine Daston has put it). At the same time, the standpoints of the humanities as human sciences are neither “nowhere”, nor can they ever complete their analyses and, thus, approximate a relevant type of “everywhere”. In short, we need to ask: where do we stand as theorists operating within the shifting space of the humanities and how does this affect contemporary modes of generating intersubjectively accessible objectivity conditions for humanistic knowledge? Our guests approach this broad issue of objectivity in the humanities from a multiplicity of disciplinary angles with the goal of identifying novel pathways for the production of deeply integrated interdisciplinary research. 

Date: 22.05.2024 09:00AM -12:00PM 


Conference Room of the International Center for Philosophy NRW (IZPH)
Poppelsdorfer Allee 28
53115 Bonn
3rd floor (elevator available)
Entrance area not barrier-free