Doctoral Defence: Semen Reshenin "Individual Self-Determination in Friedrich Schiller's Philosophical Writings"

On August 22 at 13:00 Semen Reshenin will defend his doctoral thesis "Individual Self-Determination in Friedrich Schiller's Philosophical Writings" for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Philosophy).

Associate Professor Eva Piirimäe, University of Tartu

Assistant Professor Dr. Jörg Noller, University of Munich (Germany)

Friedrich Schiller was not only a great playwright and poet but also an original philosopher working in the Kantian tradition. He published important works in various disciplinary fields – aesthetics, morality, and politics. There is a debate among scholars concerning the coherence of Schiller’s philosophy. There are two aspects of this debate. First, scholars argue about how Schiller’s works, which deal with such different disciplinary fields, relate to each other. Second, some scholars are also concerned about the inner integrity of each individual work, since Schiller seems to combine the incompatible in them: freedom and natural necessity, the ethical and the aesthetic, sensibility and reason. This dissertation argues that Schiller’s philosophy is coherent. It is unified by the theme of self-determination. In various works, Schiller shows how self-determination is involved in many different aspects of life: aesthetics, morality, and politics, as well as how different forms of self-determination relate to each other. For example, Schiller defines beauty as freedom in appearance, meaning by this that a beautiful object is perceived as if it determines itself, as if it follows its own laws. In turn, through the aesthetic experience of beauty, according to Schiller, a person eventually acquires the capacity for reflection, which enables her to exercise her individual self-determination. Individual self-determination is, in turn, a condition for political self-determination. As Schiller shows, only a free person can participate in the founding and maintenance of an ethical state which is Schiller’s term for a republic. Schiller by no means attempted to combine the incompatible, but following the spirit of Kant's philosophy he postulated certain regulative ideals which, though unattainable, guide us toward greater and greater moral and socio-political development, thus promoting greater internal and external harmony.

Defence can be also followed in Zoom (meeting ID: 973 4792 2139, passcode: 255874).