Among the various crises facing the humanities, the most serious of all is the erosion of a shared public sense that humanists make an authoritative contribution to knowledge. On the one hand, the tendency to associate objectivity with the kind of knowledge, explanation, and justification characteristic of the natural sciences leads many to conclude that the humanities (‘human sciences’) are not a form of knowledge at all. On the other hand, we humanities often reduce our knowledge claims to struggles for control of the social agenda, or to question-begging forms of bias-spotting. My talk will discuss ways in which knowledge claims of all kinds must account for the human standpoint. I will further propose that the humanities determine a domain of objectivity which can be properly understood as a reckoning with loss.

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College Building South, UCR Campus
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Paul Kottman, The New School for Social Research, New York, Co-Director of the Institute for Philosophy and the New Humanities

Paul A. Kottman is Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of Liberal Studies at The New School for Social Research, where he co-directs the Institute for Philosophy and the New Humanities. He is the author, most recently, of Love as Human Freedom (Stanford 2018), and the co-editor of the The Art of Hegel's Aesthetics (2019). He also edits the book series Square One: First Order Questions in the Humanities for Stanford University Press. He is currently at work on a co-authored book with Markus Gabriel on 'objectivity in the humanities.'

Co-sponsored by the UCR Department of Philosophy

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