FASoS welcomes Dr. Philipp Dorstewitz as senior research fellow

As of fall 2019, Dr. Philipp Dorstewitz will be a senior visiting fellow at the philosophy department at FASoS.

Dr. Dorstewitz is a former employee of FASoS and the philosophy department, who has since moved on to a position as an Associate Professor at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Dorstewitz obtained his PhD in Philosophy from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2008. He studied Business Administration and Philosophy in Germany and in the UK. Before serving for five years as a lecturer in Philosophy at Maastricht University, he held teaching appointments at LSE and University College Dublin. Dr. Dorstewitz is also affiliated as a research fellow with the Cologne Dewey Center (University of Cologne).

In his academic work he applies a pragmatist method to the social sciences. He studies the role and relevance of human imagination in deliberation processes and seeks find an intelligent and adaptive definition of rationality, applicable to policy and (urban) planning contexts. Other strands of his work address the use of normative frameworks in policymaking and the structure of scientific inquiry.

During his fellowship at FASoS, Dr. Philipp Dorstewitz embarks on a new research project that grows out of his occupation with the concept of imagination. Under the title ‘The Desolation Syndrome and Imaginative Reconstructions’ he studies situations where human imaginative capacities fail or collapse. ‘Imagination’ he defines in a pragmatist vein as a capacity to project futures and obtain a sympathetic perspective for the sufferings of other beings. Imagination also encompasses meaningful relations with our bodies and our physical and social environment. Defined as ‘transactive’ terms, imagination and desolation refer to entire situations. These comprise both human psychological dispositions (e.g. lacking perspectives, failing empathy) and environmental conditions (e.g. faltering scope and freedom of action, callousness).

Desolation will be showcased as a ubiquitous global syndrome with variegated expressions including environmental degradations of landscapes with ensuing formation of ‘slums of despair’, accelerating intensity of agriculture and food production that lead to inhumane animal husbandry and epidemic consequences for human health and other examples. Dr. Dorstewitz believes that the concept of desolation exposes a theoretical gap for which we do not have adequate conceptual and analytic resources yet.

Dr. Dorstewitz invites FASoS members to discuss and collaborate with him on ensuing themes, including the way environmental degradations lead to situations of desolation, the relation between desolation and poverty, erosions toward desolation that we can find in industrialized countries and examples of transformative imaginative reconstructions that have the power to point at ways out of desolations.

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