Siddhesh Joshi

Andreas Dorschel

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Name  Andreas Dorschel
Role  Philosopher
Books  Rethinking prejudice

Andreas Dorschel httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Andreas Dorschel (born 1962) is a German philosopher. Since 2002, he has been professor of aesthetics and head of the Institute for Music Aesthetics at the University of the Arts Graz (Austria).



Andreas Dorschel was born in 1962 in Wiesbaden, West Germany. From 1983 on, he studied philosophy, musicology and linguistics at the universities of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) (MA 1987, PhD 1991). In 2002, the University of Bern (Switzerland) awarded him the Habilitation degree (post-doctoral lecturing qualification). Dorschel has taught at universities in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the UK. At University of East Anglia Norwich (UK), he was a colleague of writer W.G. Sebald. Dorschel was Visiting Professor at Emory University (1995) and at Stanford University (2006). Between 2008 and 2017, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF); from 2012 to 2017 he joined the Review Panel of the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) Joint Research Programme of the European Science Foundation (ESF) (Strasbourg / Brussels). From 2010 on, Dorschel has been on the Advisory Board of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group.


  • Theories of subjectivity
  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophy of music
  • History of ideas
  • Styles of reasoning
  • Work

    In his philosophical studies, Dorschel explores, both in a systematic and historical vein, the interconnectedness of thought and action. His work has been influenced by philosophers Denis Diderot, Arthur Schopenhauer and R. G. Collingwood.


    In Die idealistische Kritik des Willens [German Idealism’s Critique of the Will] (1992) Dorschel defends an understanding of freedom as choice against Kant’s and Hegel’s ethical animadversions. Following a method of „critical analysis“, Dorschel objects both to Kant’s claim that „a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same thing“ („ein freier Wille und ein Wille unter sittlichen Gesetzen einerlei“) and to Hegel’s doctrine that „freedom of the will is rendered real as law“ („die Freiheit des Willens als Gesetz verwirklicht“). What renders freedom of the will real, Dorschel argues, is rather to exercise choice sensibly.


    Rethinking Prejudice (2000) examines the Enlightenment’s struggle against prejudices and the Counter-Enlightenment’s partisanship in favour of them. „Dorschel wants to subvert that controversy by way of refuting an assumption shared by both parties“ („Dorschel will diesen Streit unterlaufen, indem er eine von beiden geteilte Annahme widerlegt“), to wit, that prejudices are bad or good, false or true because they are prejudices. As Richard Raatzsch puts it, Dorschel „seeks out the common source of both parties’ errors through rendering each position as strong as possible“ („den gemeinsamen Quellen der Irrtümer beider Seiten nachgeht, indem er sie so plausibel wie möglich zu machen sucht“). Prejudices, Dorschel concludes, can be true or false, intelligent or stupid, wise or foolish, positive or negative, good or bad, racist or humanist – and they possess none of these features simply qua prejudices. The conclusion's significance derives from the fact that it is part and parcel of „an account which preserves something of the common-sense notion of prejudice, rather than an abstract list of necessary and sufficient conditions that risks neglecting what people have historically meant and continue to mean by the term.“


    Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren [Design – The Aesthetics of Useful Things] (2002), according to Christian Demand, features „a systematic philosophy of design that does not settle for mere propaedeutics“. Dorschel probes different ways of assessing artefacts. Ludwig Hasler characterizes the book as a „cure via argumentative precision“ („argumentative Präzisionskur“), setting up „a controversy [...] both with modern functionalism, the movement that revolutionized design for a century, and with postmodernism, that sportive celebration of whimsy in matters of form“ („eine Streitschrift […] gegen den Funktionalismus der Moderne, der ein Jahrhundert lang die Gestaltung der Gebrauchsdinge revolutionierte, wie gegen die Postmoderne, die sich auf den Spass an der Beliebigkeit der Formen kaprizierte“).


    Dorschel’s Verwandlung. Mythologische Ansichten, technologische Absichten [Mutation. Mythological Views, Technological Purposes] (2009) represents a philosophical history of the idea of metamorphosis – "shaded in many nuances". Metamorphosis, Dorschel points out, defies analysis in terms of change. Change is supposed to be a rational pattern: A thing remains what it is while its features alter. But where does a thing cease to be that thing, where do its features commence? Whatever were that thing devoid of its features? Hence, historically, the concept of change was shadowed by the idea of metamorphosis or mutation. Dorschel highlights this idea, setting forth – in four case studies – the character of metamorphosis in Graeco-Roman mythology, in the New Testament, in modern alchemy, and, finally, in current genetic engineering and synthetic biology.


    In his 2010 volume Ideengeschichte [History of Ideas], Dorschel explains key issues of method in his research fields. Rejecting Quentin Skinner’s doctrine that ideas are „essentially linguistic“, Dorschel asserts: „Words are just one medium of ideas among others; musicians conceive their products in tones, architects in spaces, painters in form and colour, mathematicians in numbers or, on a more abstract level, in functions“ („Worte sind nur ein Medium von Ideen unter anderen; Musiker denken in Tönen, Architekten in Räumen, Maler in Formen und Farben, Mathematiker in Zahlen oder, abstrakter, in Funktionen.“).

    Retrieving philosophical genres

    Dorschel considers the narrowing-down of philosophical writing to articles and monographs a drain especially on epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. The now conventional forms of exposition leave little room for presenting a position while, as the argument develops, keeping various degrees of distance from the position presented. To that purpose, tapping richer resources of (dramatic and epic) irony as well as a heuristic of fiction, Dorschel has revived a number of genres such as the letter, dialogue, monologue and philosophical tale ('conte philosophique') that had flourished during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, but fell out of favour with modern academic philosophers.


  • Styria Research Award 2011
  • Caroline-Schlegel-Preis 2014
  • Books

  • Die idealistische Kritik des Willens. Versuch über die Theorie der praktischen Subjektivität bei Kant und Hegel. Felix Meiner, Hamburg 1992 (Schriften zur Transzendentalphilosophie 10). ISBN 3-7873-1046-0 (preview in Google Books)
  • Rethinking Prejudice. Ashgate, Aldershot (UK) – Burlington (USA) – Singapore – Sydney 2000 (Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy, ed. Ernest Sosa, Alan Goldman, Alan Musgrave et alii). ISBN 0-7546-1387-9
  • Gestaltung – Zur Ästhetik des Brauchbaren. 2nd ed., Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2003 (Beiträge zur Philosophie, Neue Folge). ISBN 3-8253-1483-9
  • Verwandlung. Mythologische Ansichten, technologische Absichten. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (V&R unipress), Göttingen 2009 (Neue Studien zur Philosophie 22). ISBN 978-3-899-71751-8 (preview in Google Books)
  • Ideengeschichte. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010. ISBN 978-3-8252-3314-3
  • (together with Federico Celestini) Arbeit am Kanon. Ästhetische Studien zur Musik von Haydn bis Webern. Universal Edition, Vienna – London – New York 2010 (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 51). ISBN 978-3-7024-6967-2
  • (together with Philip Alperson) Vollkommenes hält sich fern. Ästhetische Näherungen. Universal Edition, Vienna – London – New York 2012 (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 53). ISBN 978-3-7024-7146-0
  • Articles

  • Utopie und Resignation. Schuberts Deutungen des Sehnsuchtsliedes aus Goethes ,Wilhelm Meister‘ von 1826. In: Oxford German Studies 26 (1997), pp. 132–164 (pdf online)
  • Emotion und Verstand. In: Philosophisches Jahrbuch 106 (1999), no. 1, pp. 18–40 (pdf online)
  • The Paradox of Opera. In: The Cambridge Quarterly 30 (2001), no. 4, pp. 283–306 (pdf online)
  • Music and Pain. In: Jane Fulcher (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music. Oxford University Press, Oxford − New York 2011, pp. 68–79 (access via Oxford Handbooks Online)
  • Ort und Raum. In: Saeculum. Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte 61 (2011), no. 1, pp. 1–15 (pdf online)
  • Der Welt abhanden kommen. Über musikalischen Eskapismus. In: Merkur 66 (2012), no. 2, pp. 135–142 (preview)
  • Der Getäuschte im Garten. In: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte 6 (2012), no. 2, pp. 39–47 (entry in Bibliographie der Schweizergeschichte)
  • Ästhetik des Fado. In: Merkur 69 (2015), no. 2, pp. 79–86 (preview)
  • Passions of the Intellect: A Study of Polemics. In: Philosophy 90 (2015), no. 4, pp. 679–684 (pdf online) – Extended version: Polemics and Schadenfreude. In: Aaron Ben-Ze'ev and Angelika Krebs (eds.), Philosophy of Emotion, 4 vols., vol. IV: Specific Emotions. Routledge, London – New York, NY 2017 (Critical Concepts in Philosophy), pp. 172–178.
  • Entwurf einer Theorie des Fluchens. In: Variations 23 (2015), pp. 167–175 (pdf online)
  • Abhängige: von Gnaden einer Person, von Gnaden einer Sache. In: Merkur 70 (2016), no. 5, pp. 42–50 (preview)
  • Letters, dialogues, monologues, philosophical tales

  • Totengespräch zwischen Franz Joseph Haydn aus Rohrau und Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern aus Wien in der musikalischen Unterwelt. In: Federico Celestini / Andreas Dorschel, Arbeit am Kanon: Ästhetische Studien zur Musik von Haydn bis Webern (Vienna – London – New York: Universal Edition, 2010) (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 51), pp. 9–15
  • Offener Brief an Magister Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten. In: Philip Alperson / Andreas Dorschel, Vollkommenes hält sich fern. Ästhetische Näherungen (Vienna – London – New York: Universal Edition, 2012) (Studien zur Wertungsforschung 53), pp. 9–15
  • Ein verschollen geglaubter Brief der Korinther an Paulus. In: Merkur 67 (2013), no. 12, pp. 1125–1134 (preview)
  • Ich bin so frei. Ein Gespräch. In: grazkunst 01.2016, pp. 15–16 (pdf online)
  • Der Ursprung des Vorurteils. Nachrede zum Zauberberg. In: Variations 24 (2016), pp. 191–202 (pdf online)
  • Arkona. Gespräch über die Mythologie. In: Athenäum 26 (2016), pp. 161–174
  • Phantomleiber der Abstraktion. In: Zeno 37 (2017), pp. 151–166
  • Die Verstocktheit der Ungläubigen, In: Merkur 71 (2017), no. 2, pp. 85–92 (preview)
  • Unstern. Aus Franz Liszts hinterlassenen Papieren. In: Musik, Sinn und Unsinn. Festschrift anläßlich der Hommage an Alfred Brendel (Berlin: Konzerthaus Berlin, 2017), pp. 54–59
  • References

    Andreas Dorschel Wikipedia

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