Masterclass in Pragmatist Philosophy with Prof. Dr. Richard Bernstein (New School for Social Research, New York )






Sponsored by the Munich School of Philosophy and the Katholische Akademie in Bayern
Organized by Prof. Dr. Michael Reder, Prof. Dr. Alexander Filipovic, and Dr. Mara-Daria Cojocaru (Munich School of Philosophy) and Dr. Johannes Schießl (Katholische Akademie in Bayern)



Call for applications


Richard Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and is one of the foremost contemporary experts on the pragmatist tradition. Early on in his work, he concentrated on Dewey’s metaphysics, and he continued to focus on pragmatist themes, for instance in reconstructing pragmatic fallibilism as both an epistemological and an ethical/political position, or in his work on judgment and intellectual virtue. He is famous for his non-partisan and pluralist approach to philosophy, seeking to relate what is good in any tradition, regardless of its provenance on the one or the other side of the Atlantic. However, he continued to highlight the fecundity of pragmatist themes, most recently in his 2016 Pragmatic Encounters, and his 2010 The Pragmatic Turn showed how pragmatist themes are prevalent in much of contemporary philosophy anyway. Professor Bernstein has also strong interests in social and political themes and he has frequently intervened on behalf of a radical and participatory understanding of democracy, thereby continuing a concern of pragmatism with the political and cultural preconditions of good philosophy.

While pragmatism is a fairly broad church, some characteristic features stand out: pragmatism is concerned with practical consequences of concepts and propositions, it assumes an important connection between thought and action, and it evolves in close interaction with the other sciences. Its philosophical method and ethos are often summed up in a series of „isms“, such as fallibilism, pluralism, anti-scepticism, or epistemological communitarianism. However, in recent years, there has been an impressive resurgence of interest in pragmatism’s history, its relation with other philosophical traditions, as well as its impact on contemporary philosophical debates and debates in other sciences, and we thus find the narrative of what pragmatism is still as contested as it is fruitful and inspiring for pretty much any philosophical question.

The masterclass is intended to cover all aspects of contemporary pragmatism and those close to Professor Bernstein’s own research interests. It provides advanced students, doctoral students, and postdocs who have research interests in pragmatist philosophy with the opportunity to discuss their ideas with Professor Bernstein and in the group. This is an excellent opportunity to engage in constructive criticism and to become part of a unique learning environment and we cordially invite all eligible persons to apply. We particularly encourage applications from members of minority groups in philosophy. Please do not hesitate to get in touch should there be any questions or concerns.  


Eligibility: You are eligible to apply if you are: a doctoral student in philosophy, a postdoc in philosophy within 6 years after completion of your PhD, or an undergraduate student with a demonstrable interest in philosophical pragmatism. Undergraduate students at the Munich School of philosophy can write a paper and obtain credits for this course in accordance with the usual procedures.

Application: Please submit your electronic application to by February 10, 2017.

Next to a very short CV (no longer than one page), your application must include an abstract of max. 1000 words relating to a topic of pragmatism that you wish to present at the masterclass. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Pluralism and pragmatism
  • Fallibilism in theory and practice
  • Pragmatism and political philosophy
  • Pragmatism and moral philosophy
  • Pragmatism, critical communities, and education
  • Pragmatist themes in law, politics, and education
  • Pragmatism, judgement, and critical common sense
  • Pragmatism and critical theory/feminism/phenomenology/deconstruction

We are planning to organize the masterclass and Professor Bernstein’s contributions in accordance with the submissions we receive; thus, be sure to show your best! However, there are limited places available for those who wish to take part in the masterclass without giving a presentation. In this case, a letter of intent in which you express what you find particularly interesting (and why) about pragmatism and/or Professor Bernstein’s work is needed in addition to your CV.

We will inform you about the success of your application until February 27, 2017.

Language requirements: We expect all participants to read and speak English sufficiently well. However, there is of course no need to be a near native speaker and we would like to encourage students and early career philosophers to practice their professional philosophical English on this occasion.

Dates: The masterclass will start on Monday, March 20, at 2.30pm, and it will end on Wednesday, March 22, at 12.30pm.

Costs: The masterclass, including snacks during breaks, two dinners, and lunch on Tuesday is at 58€. If you wish to eat vegan, please let us know. You can also stay at the venue of the masterclass at a reduced price of 41€ per night, continental breakfast included. Please state clearly in your application: your dietary choice and for how many nights, if any, you would need a room. Thank you!

We thank the Verein der Freunde und Gönner der Katholischen Akademie in Bayern as well as pro philosophia e.V. for their generous financial support.



Venue: Katholische Akademie in Bayern, Kardinal Wendel Haus, Mandlstraße 23, 80802 München, Germany

Directions: By train. Should you arrive by train, take a suburban train (S-Bahn) from Munich central station to Marienplatz. All lines go to Marienplatz. Change there to the underground lines U3 (direction Olympiazentrum) or U6 (direction Garching-Forschungszentrum). Exit the underground at Münchener Freiheit. From there, it is a five minute walk to the Academy. Walk down Feilitzschstraße, turn into Gunezrainerstraße, which is the third on your right and turns into Mandlstraße. You will find the Katholische Akademie in Bayern, Kardinal Wendel Haus, just opposite the entrance to the English Garden. By plane. From the airport take any of the two suburban trains (S-Bahn) and exit at Marienplatz. Change to the underground U3 or U6. See above.

Contact: For all enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at