Philosophy is one of the oldest academic disciplines. Its origins date back more than 2000 years. In the 15th episode of the podcast series Arqus Knowledge Pills, Sebastian Rödl, Professor for Practical Philosophy at Leipzig University, talks about the relevance philosophy still has today and why we should not look for its “usefulness”. Sebastian shares his experience working in this field, describing it as a rollercoaster ride between moments of pure joy as well as deep frustration. And he explains what it takes to study philosophy – the most important prerequisite being an unquenchable search for complete understanding.
About the researchers
Sebastian Rödl was born in 1967 in Mainz, Germany. He studied philosophy, musicology, German literature and history at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt and at the Freie Universität Berlin. After his doctorate in 1997 with the thesis “Selbstbezug und Normativität” (Self-reference and Normativity), he worked as a postdoc at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2003 he habilitated with the thesis “Kategorien des Zeitlichen” (Categories of the Temporal) at Leipzig University. After positions at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Basle, Sebastian Rödl has been a Professor of Philosophy at Leipzig University since August 2012.
He has published widely and across divisions that structure the discipline: in the philosophy of mind, epistemology, action theory, moral philosophy and philosophy of law. He seeks to recover insights of a variety of classical authors, prominent among them Aristotle, Hegel, and Wittgenstein. He is equally interested in authors less central in the canon such as St. Paul, Martin Luther, and Simone Weil.
According to Professor Sebastian, the concern of philosophy is the last word: the word in which the desire to understand may come to rest. Since this desire is the ultimate motive and principle of our life, the understanding that philosophy seeks is self-understanding.