UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGEN: Leopold Lucas Prize 2021 goes to the philosopher Bernhard Waldenfels

The 2021 Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize of the University of Tübingen will go to the philosopher Bernhard Waldenfels. The award committee is honoring his work, which explores the conditions and possibilities for understanding the foreign. The prize, endowed with 50,000 euros, is awarded annually by the Evangelical Theological Faculty. The award ceremony cannot take place in 2021 due to the corona pandemic. Like the award ceremony in 2020, it will be linked to the award ceremony in 2022.

Bernhard Waldenfels (born 1934 in Essen) is professor emeritus for philosophy at the Ruhr University Bochum. He is one of the most important authors in the field of contemporary phenomenology. His work, which comprises more than 20 volumes and has been received in an interdisciplinary manner, is mainly devoted to the development of a “phenomenology of the foreign”. Waldenfels succeeded in rereading the “category” of alterity, that is, of cultural otherness, through the perspective of foreignness, said the jury. “He faces the challenge of developing a phenomenological discourse with which one can grasp the extent to which the foreign in the unstable and pluralistic terrain of experience is revealed in an authentic way and thus remains recognizable.”

Waldenfels is considered an important figure in contemporary philosophy. According to the jury, his work was explicitly and in an original way dedicated to the project of a “genuine” dialogue between nations and countries. “The plurality of areas in which the foreign reveals itself prompts Waldenfels not to limit himself to the results of phenomenological research in the narrower sense. Rather, he expands the spectrum of his engagement in a wide variety of research fields such as social philosophy, political philosophy, law and ethics, the ethnological discourse as well as psychology and psychoanalysis. In addition, he pays special attention to art and literature. “

Contemporary Jewish philosophy plays a special role in his work, which has led him to the importance of “radical conversation”: This includes the foreign as its own factor of understanding. From this perspective of the foreign, Waldenfels’ philosophy developed in the spirit of a dialogue between the philosophical traditions of Europe, especially in his attempt to bring the French and German philosophical tradition into a fruitful conversation.

The Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize is awarded to people whose scientifically founded work promotes relationships between people and peoples and has made a contribution to spreading the idea of tolerance. The award was presented in 1972 in memory of the Jewish scholar and rabbi Dr. Leopold Lucas, who died in Theresienstadt in 1943 as a victim of the Nazi state.

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