Projektgebundenes Seminar - Die Welt

Antonia Birnbaum
Art Sciences and Art Education, Philosophy
2022W, Project - bound Seminar (PGS), 10.0 ECTS, 4.0 semester hours, course number S04371


The concept of world between loss and multiplication

Rok Benčin


While the world has grown fully interconnected through globalization and technology, the sense of being-in-the-world today is marked by a series of political, economic, environmental, and health crises, which have contributed to a growing perception of division and disorientation. On the one hand, as many philosophers and theorists have noted, the global reality seems worldless, since it does not provide a commonly shared sense of belonging to or orientation within the world as a whole. On the other hand, the erection of new walls and the rise of “alternative facts” point to the realization that we are not merely faced with differences between worldviews, but rather with the more radical phenomenon of people living in different worlds. The world thus seems either lost or multiplied.

These lectures will explore the different genealogies of the concept of world in modern philosophy and its contemporary reconceptualisations. The problematization of the concept of world seems to coincide with the emergence of modern philosophy. After the modern scientific and philosophical revolution, which invalidated thetraditional conception of world as a finite and hierarchically ordered whole, the concept of world could no longer be simply identified with a mythical, metaphysical, or cosmological totality. The need to reconceptualize some sense of being-in-the-world, as that which frames our experience of reality, nevertheless persisted and resurfaced strongly in 20st-century philosophy. Various philosophical currents have reconceived the concept of world either as a framework of existential experience (phenomenology from Husserl and Heidegger onwards) or as a reference to objective factuality (from Wittgenstein to the new realisms). Yet even with such reconceptions, the world ultimately came to be seen under the sign of loss (the “darkening” of the world in Heidegger; its “alienation” in Arendt; the looming end of the world in the face of climate change) or as an obsolete metaphysical notion no longer relevant in the age of modern science (as Lacan has noted, among others).

The lectures, however, will challenge this dominant historical narrative of loss from the perspective of an alternative genealogy of the modern concept of world. To the philosophical reflections on the loss or redundancy of the world as a totality, we will add an examination of its multiplication into singular worlds. This perspective entails a return to Leibniz, for whom worlds are different possible configurations of the same ontological multiplicity (the multiplicity of monads). Leibniz confined the multiplicity of worlds to possibility as only the best of all the possible worlds was ultimately created. Some contemporary philosophers, however, have argued that the multiplicity of worlds has become actual. In Deleuze, Nancy, Badiou, Rancière and others, we find the idea that our own reality is actually constituted as a multiplicity of divergent, yet overlapping worlds, marked by the contingency of their actualisation. The lectures will explore these ideas along with their political and aesthetical suppositions and implications.


13 October 2022, 14:00–16:00 Seminar Room 24 (preliminary discussion)
07 November 2022, 10:00–12:30 Seminar Room 23
07 November 2022, 14:30–18:00 Seminar Room 23
08 November 2022, 10:00–12:30 Seminar Room 23
08 November 2022, 14:30–18:00 Seminar Room 23
09 November 2022, 14:30–18:00 Seminar Room 23
09 November 2022, 18:30–21:00 Seminar Room 23
10 November 2022, 10:00–12:30 Seminar Room 23
10 November 2022, 14:30–18:00 Seminar Room 23

Course Enrolment

From 14 September 2022, 19:24 to 31 October 2022, 19:24
Via online registration

Studies in Art and Culture (Master): Project-bound Seminars: Project-bound Seminar 1-3 568/001.01

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible