10 May 2012, 18.30 – 20.00

Distinguished Lecture Series: Louis A. Sass (Rutgers)

“Surface and Depth: On the indispensability of phenomenology”

The aim of this lecture is to situate phenomenology (the tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty) in relation to influential recent approaches to consciousness and the mind/body problem in analytic philosophy. I will consider the nature and necessity of phenomenology in light of the views of such writers as Dennett, the Churchlands, Searle, and Nagel (and possibly Metzinger). I will also offer a critical evaluation of the arguments of these authors (or some of them) from a phenomenological standpoint.  Some points may be illustrated by reference to examples from psychopathology. My hope is to clarify phenomenology’s unique appreciation of the subtleties and depths of human subjectivity.

Louis A. Sass has strong interdisciplinary interests involving the intersection of clinical psychology with philosophy, the arts, and literary studies. His publications include critical analyses of psychoanalytic theory; phenomenological studies of schizophrenia; and articles on notions of truth and of the self in psychoanalysis, hermeneutic philosophy, and  postmodernism. He is the author of “Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought” and “The Paradoxes of Delusion: Wittgenstein, Schreber, and the Schizophrenic Mind.” He also co-edited “Hermeneutics and Psychological Theory.” Dr. Sass has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J., and was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Foundation. Currently he is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and a research associate in the history of psychiatry at Cornell Medical College. He is also a research associate in the Center for Cognitive Science and serves on the faculty of the Program in Comparative Literature, both at Rutgers. In 1998-99 he was president of the Division of Psychology and the Arts of the American Psychological Association. In 2006-07, he was president of the Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of APA.



Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Luisenstraße 56
Festsaal, 2nd Floor
10117 Berlin


Dr. Anna Strasser, Dr. Martin Voss
cils.hu@gmail.com, martin.voss@charite.de