This conference will initiate debate regarding the central role and importance of irony in philosophy today and discuss recent developments. Three types of irony, corresponding to three periods in the history of thought, will be considered:
1. By their open-ended, aporetic structure, Plato's dialogues reveal a gentle skepticism concerning one-sided claims to possession of truth: We cannot capture truth by force or grasp it from an exclusive standpoint. In this respect, Socrates functions as a living example of the mediating and moderating role of irony, especially regarding concepts central to the moral fabric of human existence.
2. Early Romantics, especially Friedrich Schlegel, expanded the meaning of "irony." Schlegel took irony as a universal theoretical, poetical and philosophical principle and method, and fundamental mental disposition. He saw irony as the best framework for describing human subjectivity and the world to which it relates. Irony thus embodies the standpoint appropriate to human subjectivity and modernity, as seen in thinkers like Kieerkegaard and Nietzsche.
3. For postmodern philosophy, irony describes a world of contingency (Rorty), as exemplified by the open method of „Deconstruction“ and „Interpretation“. Irony here expresses interruption, dislocation of norms, rules, constant entities and the impossibility of constructing any coherent code.
Conference Language: German, English