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Susan Neiman

Susan Neiman foto Katja Hoffman
Susan Neiman foto Katja Hoffman

(USA, 1955) is a philosopher, commentator, essaysist and director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. She combines old ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood with cynical realism: "Idealism for grownups," as she calls it. In 2014 she won the Spinoza Lens, a biannual Dutch prize for an "internationally renowned thinker on ethics and society." Neiman, a Jewish-American, became known with Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy. In Why Should You Grow Up? (2015), she uses the work of famous philosophers like Kant, Rousseau and De Beauvoir to show that ideals need not be lost to the passing years, and are especially needed, for example, to counteract the kind of evil embraced by IS youth. "It is precisely our society's materialism that drives young people into the clutches of radical ideology." She holds politicians responsible for no longer daring to promote their own Enlightenment-inspired European culture.


Archive available for: Susan Neiman

  • Winternachten 2016 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Past Evils, Present Problems. Winternachten lecture by Susan Neiman

    German-American philosopher Susan Neiman delivers this year's Winternachten Lecture. She zooms in on the way nations deal with their problematic pasts. Do Germans set a good example with their "Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung"? What about the Americans' handling of Hiroshima, or slavery? And the Europeans, with their colonial histories? Neiman finds links between processing the past and the attitude of European states toward current challenges, such as the refugee crisis. After the lecture, Sheila Sitalsing moderates a debate on this subject between Neiman, Geert Mak and Neel Mukherjee. In English

    Neel Mukherjee replaces Tariq Ali, who had to cancel his appearance for personal reasons.

  • Winternachten 2016 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    The Text of my Life: Susan Neiman

    In Filmhuis Studio A the festival's guest writers present their favourite literary texts and explain why a particular poem, novel excerpt, or song lyric influenced their life and work. Which memory, what feeling does this text call up for them? A continuous interview programme, in which the audience also talks with the writers. Hosted by Wim Brands. In English