Our world needs heroes, people who show us how we can live, who show courage, who take risks without putting their lives at risk, who think carefully how they can achieve their goals and know what compromises are required to succeed in their missions.
This is what American-German philosopher Susan Neiman will argue next week, when she gives Maastricht University's most important lecture, the Tans lecture. She is the director of the Einstein Forum, a think tank and discussion centre in Potsdam.
Neiman is by no means an armchair philosopher, but rather a philosophical activist who does not hide her opinions and political preferences. She is from the left wing, has handed out leaflets for Obama (one of her heroes) and cannot stand the neoliberals. Even more so: Bush’s victory in 2004 was one of the reasons why she wrote her latest book, Moral Clarity.
In this book, she breathes new life into four values that find their origin in the Enlightenment: reason, happiness, hope and respect. The first is the most important: the ability and the willingness to think for oneself instead of following orders.
Neiman has written five books. In particular Moral Clarity (2008) and Evil in modern thought (2002) have attracted the attention of a wide audience. In addition she publishes in journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, Die Zeit and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Maurice Timmermans/Riki Janssen
Tans lecture ‘Seeking Heroes’ by Susan Neiman, on Tuesday, 2 November at 20.00hrs. in the lecture hall on the Tongersestraat 53. Free entrance