Peter Sloterdijk

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Date and place of birth: 1947, Karlsruhe, Germany

Living place: Karlsruhe, Germany; Vienna, Austria

Theme: philosophy

ECC Participation: Honorary Committee

photo: BE&W

One of the most influential modern thinkers. Interested in many domains of the humanities realm: psychology, art theory, history, sociology, philosophy, culture and religion. Sloterdijk examines the transformations of cultures and civilizations in a very wide context, referencing ancient history as well as Hollywood. Sloterijk often expresses his opinions on a wide variety of subjects, like globalization and action movies, terrorism and architecture, inner workings of museums and climate change. His essays brought humor and irony back to German philosophy.

”Philosophy is not a field in and of itself, it’s an activity that permeates all the other fields.”

His most famous book, “Critique of Cynical Reason” was published over 25 years ago. It’s a insightful diagnosis of modern, enlightened, and yet false, consciousness and a critique of ideology that served as inspiration to many modern philosopher, like Slavoj Žižek. Many of his works evoke very lively discussions. His devotion to Nietzsche’s ideas and Plato’s theory of a state that exerts full control over its citizens was quite controversial. One of his latest essays, “Die Revolution der gebenden Hand”, critiquing the welfare state (which Sloterdijk calls “a fiscal kleptocracy”) was received with a certain amount of unease.

Sloterdijk himself says that he’d like to be “a thinker immune to utopia.” At the same time, he is an advocate for change: social and individual, the latter being, according to him, requisite for returning sense to the world ruled by cynicism and the “apathy of little egoisms.”
Sloterdijk is the originator and co-host of the “Philosophical Quartet”, a TV show aired by the German ZDF channel. He is also the rector and professor of philosophy and media theory at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe.

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