Saints and Madmen: Integrity at its Limits

4 – 6 June, 2014, Einstein Forum, Berlin

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In collaboration with the Einstein Forum.

‘Saints and Madmen: Integrity at its Limits’ asks whether, or in what way, integrity demands purity and uncompromising adherence to values. We want to look at, on the one hand, what it does to a person to hold themselves to a high standard, and how real integrity can look to people from the outside (sometimes foolish or inconsiderate or vain); and we want to look, on the other hand, and what it does to people to be held to some ‘saintly’ version of absolute integrity, such that everyone is already compromised anyway.

Can we be compromised, hypocritical, and prudential and still be persons of integrity or does, after all, integrity demand that we are prepared to become martyrs to a cause?

On days one and two we will hear papers from a number of high-profile international speakers. Day three will be a day of smaller workshops; we are keen to hear from people who want to be involved.

In keeping with The Integrity Project’s aims, we will bring together academics from across the disciplines, as well as those living and working in circumstances which compromise or enable integrity.

Conference poster

Click to download conference poster

Click on the paper titles to be taken to audio and transcript (where available).

Wednesday 4th June (lectures)

(10.00) Amber Carpenter, University of York . ‘Keeping one’s bearings in a world gone mad

[abstract and biography]

(11.00) Dieter Thomä, St. Gallen. ‘The danger of being ridden by a type: Reflections on integrity and depravity

[abstract and biography]

(12.30) Volker Gerhardt, Berlin. ‘Integrität und Wahrhaftigkeit’

[abstract and biography]

(15.00) Larissa MacFarquhar, New York. ‘Life in the Shallow Pond’

[abstract and biography]

(16.00) Carl Tham, Stockholm. ‘Reflections on Integrity in diplomacy and politics’

[abstract and biography]

(17.30) Gesine Schwan, Berlin. ‘Integrität in der Politik’

[abstract and biography]

(19.00) Karl Heinz Bohrer, London. ‘Kohlhaas‘ Rache. Nicht ein moralischer Disput, sondern imaginative Intensität (Kohlhaas’s Revenge. Not a Moral Dispute, but Imaginative Intensity)’

[abstract and biography]

Thursday 5th June (lectures)

(10.00) Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, Ohio. ‘Rejecting Integrity, Choosing Humanity’

[abstract and biography]

(11.00) David Shulman, Jerusalem. ‘Non-Saintly Integrity in the South Hebron Hills’

[abstract and biography]

(12.30) Konstanty Gebert, Warschau.  ‘The Enemy’s Integrity’

[abstract and biography]

(15.00) Nora Hangel, Konstanz. ‘(Self-)Descriptions of researchers across disciplines: reflections about ethos, personality and habitus in narrative interview’

[abstract and biography]

(16.30) Matthew W. Maguire, Chicago. ‘Can You Tell a Saint from a Monster? The Integrity Controversy in a New Century

[abstract and biography]

Friday 6th June (workshops)

Arendt and Integrity of the World (Alexander Beaumont, York St. John’s)

with Sophie Loidolt (Vienna) and Siobhan Kattago (Tallin)

Conceptual Corruption in Practice (Chon Tejedor, Oxford University)

with Rachael Wiseman (Durham) and Katharina Bauer (Essen)

Problematic Integrity as a Basis for Poetic Conceptions of the Self (Jannik Howe, FU, Berlin)

with Kai Wiegandt (FU Berlin) and Jens Elze (Göttingen)

Saints in Science? Nora Hangel (Konstanz)

with Greta Wagner (Frankfurt) and Martin Bruder (Konstanz)

Full programme details will be announced shortly. All enquiries to

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This event is funded by the University of York and the Einstein Forum