Encountering philosophy as a young student in Munich ignited a passion that has shaped my life. Clarifying the meaning of philosophy for oneself is a time-consuming process, as it transcends mere intellectual activity. While philosophy is a specialized academic discipline, it should not be practiced in isolation from the world. Instead, it necessitates an open dialogue, as philosophers inhabit a world characterized by accelerating scientific progress and rapid social change.

Philosophy is the activity of free thinking, culminating in intensive and systematic self-reflection. It also involves a critical examination of knowledge-creation and knowledge systems. Philosophers must grapple with questions such as: How do we synthesize what we know into a coherent worldview? How do we apply philosophical thinking to our lives? How do we make decisions in the complex environments we inhabit?

As biological creatures with physical bodies, we live in a world of speech and language, thinking and operating through abstractions. We transcend our physical existence through language, art, science, theology, and philosophy. Consciousness emerges from the concrete context of an individual human existence, becomes socialized, and evolves over time towards greater abstraction and a unique experience of life. Philosophy can also be a form of ethics, addressing the question of how one should act, with its essence lying in the pursuit of wisdom. Our future remains unpredictable, and each individual possesses a unique history. Themes such as loneliness, loss, temporality, freedom, relationships, sexuality, risk, anxiety, and death are universal to the human experience, hence my interest in psychoanalysis and existentialism.

Philosophical thinking serves as a critical tool, liberating us from misconceptions and various forms of ideologies. It clarifies ideas and arguments, subtracting more than adding, and removing false beliefs rather than accumulating more knowledge. Philosophical reflection helps differentiate between information, knowledge, understanding, and shared beliefs. It works with concepts and emancipates the subject from being caught up in objectifications and instrumental thinking.

In the age of "big data," where computer code has become the basic language and algorithms reign supreme, knowledge itself has become a variable in the dynamics of knowledge-production. The rapid advancements in artificial intelligence will further disrupt and revolutionize every aspect of our lives, accelerating the flow of history. In this period of transformation, the ability to simplify our lives and adapt to the changes around us is crucial for our well-being. I refer to this as absorption speed: the capacity to assimilate new technologies, adapt to changing social and political landscapes, and find our place amidst paradigm shifts.

Philosophy provides orientation and guidance towards living a good life. It encompasses ethics and political theory, addressing questions such as: What constitution of society is best for us and will enable us to improve and humanize our lives? Academic philosophers pursue fundamental questions, such as the nature of truth and justice, while connecting current debates to the history of ideas and our intellectual roots. Their voices are more important than ever, as the power of human agency has outpaced the power of human reason. Our collective actions have reached geological dimensions, altering the Earth's ecosystem and ushering in the Anthropocene era.

I appreciate your interest in this website. If you have any suggestions, please send me a message or sign up for occasional email updates. You can also connect with me on one of the social networks listed below.

Thank you for your visit!

Jürgen Braungardt