Martin Buber's dialogical philosophy contains a fundamental reflection on the nature of human relations and how they can be participated in, interpreted, and studied. In this seminar we will examine Buber's main writings, focusing on his claim that the dialogical I-Thou relation differs fundamentally from social relations, that it can only be understood on its own terms, that it exists in communicative speech (even though not always words are exchanged in concrete I-Thou instances) and that it resists all attempts at objectification. We will bring this claim into conversation with other approaches to understanding human relations and the nature of the social, e.g. Marxism, feminism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, communication theory and contemporary social philosophy. We will ask how the interhuman and the social are related. Could a future-oriented, utopian horizon to human relationality emerge as the mediation between the interhuman and the social? How might this inform a contemporary assessment of Buber’s work? We’ll work with primary texts by Buber and others, as well as with literary and first-person accounts of relationality and dialogue.
Convenors: Johan Siebers (Bloch Centre/Middlesex University) and Vic Seidler (Goldsmiths/Leo Baeck College)
Seminars will be held fortnightly on Mondays, from 16:00-18:00 (online via Zoom). Times are given in London local time. Participation is free, however advance online registration is required as only registered participants will be sent to the link to access the event.
Dates: 5, 19 October (BST); 2, 16, 30 November; 14 December 2020 (GMT)
Further details and reading