Département de philosophie

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Inbegriff – Geneva Seminar for Austro-German Philosophy

Inbegriff is a research group devoted to understanding and evaluating Austro-German philosophy.

The Austro-German tradition originates in the works of Bernard Bolzano and, above all, Franz Brentano. Putting description, scientific method and a concern for clarity at the core of his philosophical and psychological inquiries, Brentano’s thought was explicitly directed against the dominant, speculative philosophical stance in the German-speaking world, post-Kantian idealisms, and a variety of naturalisms. The first layer of the Austro-German tradition is made up of Brentano’s earliest students, Carl Stumpf, Anton Marty, Christian von Ehrenfels, Alexius Meinong, Edmund Husserl and Kazimierz Twardowski. Under their influence, Brentano’s seminal views in the philosophy of mind and language, logic, ontology, ethics and value theory spread out over Central Europe, in Germany, thanks to Stumpf and Husserl, and in Prague, Graz and Lvov, thanks to Marty, Meinong and Twardowski. The students and other heirs of these philosophers include the Gestalt-psychologists in Graz, Berlin and Vienna, the early phenomenologists in Germany, and many other thinkers. Besides, thanks to Twardowski and Husserl, Bolzano’s “Anti-Kantian” philosophy slowly began to become known, a process which continues apace.

Inbegriff aims to understand the history of Austro-German philosophy by studying the works of individual authors and by identifying common positions and disagreements, notably in descriptive psychology, semantics, formal ontology and the theory of value.

Inbegriff also aims to evaluate philosophically Austro-German philosophies and contribute to current debates, which can often be traced back to earlier Austro-German discussions, such as the theory of intentionality, the analysis of different types of mental acts and states, the relation between pragmatics and semantics, the ontology of relations, tropes and states of affairs, and value theory.

The main activities of the research group will be the organization of an Annual Conference on Austro-German Philosophy, the organization of a series of workshops, the teaching of a yearly course at the University of Geneva, and the constitution of a reading group, which brings together students and scholars from Geneva and elsewhere. Moreover, Inbegriff will host national and international research projects on Austro-German philosophy.

*The German word "Inbegriff", of which the standard meaning is “epitome”, is used in the sense of “aggregate”, “plurality” or “set” by Bolzano and Husserl, and in the sense of “result of synthesis” by Stumpf.

**On the Austro-German tradition, see K. Mulligan, Wittgenstein et la tradition austro-allemande, Vrin, Paris 2012, as well as B. Smith, Austrian Philosophy. The Legacy of Franz Brentano, Open Court, La Salle-Chicago 1994. For an overview of Brentano's influences, see A. Dewalque, “Schema of the Brentano School Intellectual Progeny”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 12/3, 2013, p. 445.


Laurent Cesalli

Kevin Mulligan

Local Members:
Fabrice Correia
Guillaume Fréchette
Janette Friedrich
Hélène Leblanc
Paolo Natali
Fabrice Teroni

Associated Members:

Giuliano Bacigalupo (University of Lille 3)
Federico Boccaccini (University of Liège)
Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (University of Szczecin)
Arnaud Dewalque (University of Liège)
Denis Fisette (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Gerald Hartung (Universität Wuppertal)
Manuel Gustavo Isaac (chercheur indépendant)
Colin King (Providence College)
Uriah Kriegel (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS, Paris)
Alain de Libera (Collège de France)
Claudio Majolino (University of Lille 3)

Riccardo Martinelli (University of Trieste)
Olivier Massin (Université de Neuchâtel)
Jimmy Plourde (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)
Jacob Schmutz (Sorbonne Université)
Denis Seron (University of Liège)
Peter Simons (Trinity College Dublin)
Barry Smith (University at Buffalo)

Hamid Taieb (Universität, Hamburg)
Mark Textor (King's College, London)

Research Projects



Upcoming Events:

May, 6-8, 2021: Online Workshop “Universals. Austrian and Medieval Perspectives”. Keynote speakers: Gabriele Galluzzo (Exeter) and Wolfgang Künne (Hamburg). Poster & Program

Past Workshops and Talks:

– April, 23, 2021 (1-4 pm): Online Workshop Hume in Austria. Invited speakers: Denis Seron (Liège) and Hynek Janoušek (Prague). Poster
January 27, 2020: Intentionality - with Mauro Antonelli (Milano Bicocca) (talk given in German), Kevin Mulligan (Genève&Lugano), Laurent Cesalli (Geneva), Charles Girard (Genève), Hamid Taieb (Hamburg) (Programme)
Journées on Realism about Universals in Austro-German and Contemporary Philosophy:
  • April 9, 2020: "The Universal-Particular Distinction: A Dogma of Metaphysics?": discussion of MacBride 2005;
  • February 19, 2020: "Universals in Albert the Great" (Programme);
  • December 12, 2019: "Universals in Husserl's Philosophy" (Programme);
  • November, 7, 2019 "Universals. From Contemporary to Austrian and Back Again" (Programme);
  • January 16, 2020: "Universals in Anton Marty's Philosophy" (Programme);
October 31, 2019: Lake Geneva Graduate Conference "Kinds - in Philosophy and Its History" (Organized with the CUSO, eidos, and dialectica). Programme
  Workshop "For an Austro-German Aristotle", April 4-5, 2019 (programme)
  Workshop "Scholastic philosophy in the Austro-German tradition", January 10, 2019 (programme)
  Workshop INBEGRIFF/SEMAINO, "Que veut dire ‘signifier’? Quelques réponses modernes et contemporaines", April 13, 2018.
  Workshop "L'Esthétique dans la tradition austro-allemande", University of Geneva, January 24, 2018 (programme).
 Talk by Jocelyn Benoist, "Que ce qui n'existe pas n'existe vraiment pas, même en Sardaigne"University of Geneva, May 12, 2017, organised in collaboration with Phileas
– "Perspectives on Deontology from Early Phenomenology and Contemporary Philosophy. Workshop with Barry Smith", University of Geneva, July 6, 2016 (updated program), access to Barry Smith's lecture here
– "Brentano in Discussion. Workshop with Uriah Kriegel", University of Geneva, April 20, 2016
– "Philosophies autrichiennes & Anti-Kants", University of Geneva, November 20-21, 2015
– "Austro-German Objects and Scientific Philosophy. Workshop with Dale Jacquette", University of Geneva, October 6, 2015
– "Objectivisme et fonctionnalisme dans les théories austro-allemandes de la signification" (Round Table), Triennial International Congress of the SoPha, Université de Montréal and UQAM, June 17-20, 2015

– "Intentional Objects Allsorts. Varieties from Austro-German and Medieval Philosophy. Workshop with Arkadiusz Chrudzimski", University of Geneva, June 9, 2015

Past Conferences:

Conference INBEGRIFF/SEMAINO, "Logic and Grammar from Late Scholasticism to Austrian Philosophy", University of Geneva, June 13-14, 2019 (programme)
"Anton Marty and Contemporary Philosophy" (Call for Papers), University of Geneva, June 15-17, 2017 (closing conference of the SNF project "Meaning and Intentionality in Anton Marty")

– "Intentionality and Consciousness. From Austrian to Contemporary Philosophy of Mind", Universities of Fribourg, Geneva and Salzburg, November 25-26, 2016

External Collaborations:

– “Monthly Phenomenology. An online forum of discussion on recent work in phenomenology”, one Friday per month, 4.15 pm CET (November 2020 - July 2021)

– "Franz Brentano Centenary. Conferences and Summer School", Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, University of Vienna, May 27-June 3, 2017

Yearly Course on Austro-German Philosophy:

"Le langage humain : les origines. Théories médiévales et modernes (II)" (Spring 2020)


Past Courses:


– "A la recherche de la grammaire universelle II: l'époque moderne" (Spring 2019)

– "Logique et Grammaire chez deux Antoine (Arnauld et Marty)" (Spring 2018)

"L'intentionnalité : d'Aristote à Brentano" (Autumn 2016)
Working sessions of "L'intentionnalité : d'Aristote à Brentano"
(Spring 2017)

"Introduction à la philosophie et à son histoire. La philosophie autrichienne de Bolzano à Wittgenstein" (Autumn 2015)
Working sessions of "Introduction à la philosophie et à son histoire. La philosophie autrichienne de Bolzano à Wittgenstein" (Spring 2016)

Reading Groups:

Spring Semester 2017:
Reading of Ch. v. Ehrenfels' "Über 'Gestaltqualitäten'".
Ch. v. Ehrenfels, "Über 'Gestaltqualitäten'", Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 14 (1890), pp. 249-292. Reading in French: Ch. v. Ehrenfels, "Sur les 'qualités de forme'", in D. Fisette & G. Fréchette (2007), A l'école de Brentano. De Würzbourg à Vienne, Paris: Vrin, pp. 225-259.
Meetings: 25/4, 9/5, from 6pm to 8pm, University of Geneva, Department of Philosophy, 5 rue de Candolle, 3rd floor, Meeting Room.

Autumn Semester 2016:
Reading of A. Meinong's "Über Gegenstände höherer Ordnung".
A. Meinong, "Über Gegenstände höherer Ordnung und deren Verhältnis zur inneren Wahrnehmung", Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane 21 (1899), pp. 182-272. Reading in French: A. Meinong, "Sur les objets d'ordre supérieur et leur rapport à la perception interne", in D. Fisette & G. Fréchette (2007), A l'école de Brentano. De Würzbourg à Vienne, Paris: Vrin, pp. 261-341.
Meetings: 25/10, 23/11, 28/11, from 6pm to 8pm, University of Geneva, Department of Philosophy, 5 rue de Candolle, 3rd floor, Meeting Room.

Spring Semester 2016:
Reading of the 1st Logical Investigation of E. Husserl ("Ausdruck und Bedeutung").
E. Husserl (1913/1984), Logische Untersuchungen. Zweiter Band, Untersuchungen zur Phänomenologie und Theorie der Erkenntnis, 1. Teil, ed. U. Panzer, Husserliana 19, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Reading in French: E. Husserl (1961), Recherches logiques, 2, 1ère partie, trad. Hubert Elie, Arion L. Kelkel, René Schérer, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
Meetings: 02/03, 16/03, 06/04, 27/04, 04/05, 25/05, from 6pm to 8pm, University of Geneva, Bastions, B002.


Archives Husserl, Paris
Brentano Studien
North American Society for Early Phenomenology
Research Unit "Phenomenologies", University of Liège

UMR STL (Savoirs, Textes, Langage), University of Lille 3
University of Salzburg, Philosophy Department, Franz Brentano