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Ethics of Dostoevsky work to launch lecture series at WMU

by Mark Schwerin

Sept. 22, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Dr. Dirk Uffelmann, University of Passau.
Dr. Dirk Uffelmann
University of Passau
KALAMAZOO--A visiting professor from Germany will examine the ethical implications of one of Dostoevsky's works late this month, ushering in the fall season of the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

Dr. Dirk Uffelmann, professor of philosophy and chair of Slavic literatures and cultures at the University of Passau, will speak at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the Brown and Gold Room of the Bernhard Center. His presentation, titled "The Mundane Ethics of Dostoevsky's 'Legend of the Grand Inquisitor,'" is free and open to the public.

Uffelmann is visiting WMU as part of a short-term faculty exchange between the University and the University of Passau. His presentation is co-sponsored by the WMU Department of Foreign Languages.

Recent conceptualizations of the relationship between aesthetics and ethics by Anglo-American analytical philosophers claim that the ethical quality of a work of art contributes to its aesthetic merit. In his talk, Uffelmann will explore the ethical qualities of "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor," a short parable in the second part of the writer's great novel "The Brothers Karamazov."

"The Grand Inquisitor" tells the story of the second coming of Christ during the Spanish Inquisition. It questions if, in granting humans the freedom of choice, the vast majority of humanity has been excluded from redemption and doomed it to suffer.

Dates and times of other presentations in the series, the speakers and locations and titles of their presentations are: