Summer Seminar 2017, August 21-23
‘What the Humanities Contribute to the University’

On the Uses and Abuses of the Humanities for University and for Society at large

Prof. Marcus Düwell
Utrecht University 


There are extensive discussions about the usefulness of the humanities. The paper defends the view that the humanities have a specific task in helping human beings to get better understanding of themselves as practical beings. The study of history, language, culture, art and philosophy is ultimately not only relevant to understand human culture as a specific domain of our world but it is relevant to have the opportunity to integrate diverse (scientific, cultural, aesthetic, moral etc.) perspectives on the world from the perspective of practical beings. To have this opportunity is particular important in the current world characterized by significant changes and challenges. Ultimately the humanities are focussed on the question what it means to be a human being.


Short Bio

Marcus Düwell holds a chair for philosophical ethics at Utrecht University. He is director of the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University. His research interests include bioethics, ethics of climate change and philosophical questions about human dignity and human rights. He is author of Bioethics. Methods, Theories, Scope (Routledge 2012), co-editor of: Cambridge Handbook on Human Dignity (Cambridge UP 2014), Human Rights and Sustainability (Routledge 2016). From 2011-2016 he was director of a big research programme “What can the humanities contribute to our practical self-understanding?”

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