03. September 2021

Young Researcher Award Young Researcher Award

What does “post-truth” or “post-facts” mean, actually: lies, bullshit, illusionary self-deception? The Institute of Hermeneutics of the University of Bonn directed the question to young researches from all over Germany. A committee from political sciences, sociology and theology now selected the best answers, and the award winners, Dr. Dr. Martin Breul (Catholic Theology, University of Cologne), Florian Buchmayr (Sociology, University of Bremen), Eytan Celik (Philosophy, University of Bayreuth), presented their approaches at a digital symposium.

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Besides the winners’ presentations, the symposium “The illusion of the self-evident. Rhetoric and pragmatics of strategically dealing with truth and reliability at politically and socially critical times” included lectures by renowned academics not only from Germany, but also the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Argentina. The discussion with the mainly young audience focused on where to find reliable structures in times of crisis like today.

The symposium organized by the Bonn Hermeneutical Institute in cooperation with the German Society for Religious Philosophy (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Religionsphilosophie) and the Network Hermeneutics Interpretation Theory (Netzwerk Hermeneutik Interpretationstheorie) is part of a long-term project: Every three years the Institute and the Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) “Individuals, Institutions and Societies” (Individuen, Institutionen und Gesellschaften) present a prize question on a hermeneutical topic. “We would like to encourage the discussion of currently relevant challenges and questions as well as young academics at the international level”, the project leader Prof. Dr. Cornelia Richter of the Protestant Theological Faculty of the University of Bonn emphasizes.

The recent prize question was developed in springtime 2017, amidst the fervid discussion of the terms “fake news” and “post-truth”. Students and young academics of the Protestant Theology Faculty expressed a great interest in an interdisciplinary, hermeneutical and analytical reflection on the question of distortion, deception, insincerity, whitewashing or bullshit.

Transdisciplinary Research

Since the topic has lost none of its social relevance, it has become part of the TRA “Individuals, Institutions, and Societies” – one of six cross-faculty associations that represent the University of Bonn’s research profile and are of great importance to the University of Excellence. The research areas bring together researchers from various faculties and disciplines to work together on future-relevant topics. With its involvement in the TRA, the Bonn Institute of Hermeneutics is intensifying its cooperation with the Philosophical Faculty and the Faculty of Law and Political Science.

Within the TRA “Individuals, Institutions and Societies”, researchers investigate how institutions – for example, market, law, and culture – determine complex relationships between individuals and societies. From this, they develop new perspectives on micro-phenomena such as personality development, capacities to act and individualization, as well as macro-phenomena such as world society and globalization. Among other things, the aim is to identify key factors that influence social cohesion, equal opportunities, efficiency, resource protection and the development of individual skills in the interaction of the mentioned factors.

New Question 2020

The relevance of the issue of “fake news” for social cohesion in a global context becomes evident in today’s crises such as the US election or the discussion about the pandemic. Therefore, we need a “hermeneutics of social culture”, in which the question of truth is asked repeatedly and answered academically. The new 2020 prize question of the Bonn Hermeneutical Institute in cooperation with the German Society for Philosophy of Religion (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Religionsphilosophie) is therefore about truth and digitalization: “What does truth mean under the conditions of digitalization? An epistemological question in conversation with hermeneutics, philosophy of religion and socio-cultural phenomenology”. The closing date for entries is December 31, 2021.


Prof. Dr. Cornelia Richter
Protestant Theology Faculty of the University of Bonn
Phone: 0228 73 4171
E-Mail: cornelia.richter@uni-bonn.de

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