History and basic structure of the society

The Helmuth Plessner Society (Helmuth Plessner Gesellschaft, HPG) is a forum for the newly awoken interest in the thought, work, and life of the philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist Helmuth Plessner. It is also a forum for the discussion of philosophical anthropology in general. It aims to support the application of Plessner’s thought within interdisciplinary research as well as the public dissemination of his ideas. The society offers conceptual, organizational, and (to a limited extent) financial support for academic research in connection with Plessner’s work. In addition, the HPG is the first scientific society systematically to promote philosophical anthropology as a discipline and as a tradition and paradigm. As a discipline, philosophical anthropology focuses on the question: who or what is the human being? As a tradition and paradigm, it stands for a unique interconnection of biological, cultural, and social anthropology.

The Helmuth Plessner Society was founded on 14 March 1999 in Göttingen. The founding members were: Wolfgang Eßbach, Joachim Fischer, Kai Haucke, Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, Hans-Peter Krüger, Hans-Ulrich Lessing, Lolle Nauta (†), Monika Plessner (†), Walter Sprondel, and Konrad Thomas (†). Wolfgang Eßbach was elected the first president of the HPG, Lolle Nauta (†) was elected vice-president, and Joachim Fischer general secretary. The first members of the scientific advisory board were Monika Plessner (†), Hans-Peter Krüger, Walter Sprondel, Bruno Accarino, and Zdsislaw Krasnodebski. In 2005 a new executive committee was elected: Hans-Peter Krüger (president), Jos de Mul (vice-president), Matthias Schloßberger (general secretary), and Carola Dietze (treasurer). From 2007 until 2012 Heike Delitz was the HPG treasurer. The members of the scientific advisory board were Bruno Accarino, Cao Weidong, Wolfgang Eßbach, Joachim Fischer, Heike Kämpf, Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, Gesa Lindemann, Lolle Nauta (†), Monika Plessner (†), and Walter Sprondel. New members of the scientific advisory board from 2007/08 were Carola Dietze, Mikhail Khorkov, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, and Katharina Günther (daughter of Monika Plessner). In 2011 a new executive committee was elected in Potsdam: Joachim Fischer (president), Marco Russo (vice-president), Olivia Mitscherlich (general secretary). In 2012, Henrike Lerch was elected treasurer. New members of the scientific advisory board were Heike Delitz, Gregor Fitzi, Hans Peter Krüger, Matthias Schloßberger, Volker Schürmann, and Matthias Wunsch.

The Helmuth Plessner Society is associated with the Helmuth Plessner Archives and the Helmuth Plessner Fund in Groningen. The archive of the University of Groningen comprises all of Plessner’s unpublished scientific work and documents, which have so far only partly been made available for research. Thanks to a generous initial donation, the Helmuth Plessner Fund is able to offer financial support for research at the archive. Contributions to the fund are welcome. Applications for support of research will be examined by the president of the Society in consultation with the University of Groningen administrative committee.

The Helmuth Plessner Society supports research on the work of Helmuth Plessner and on philosophical anthropology and seeks to foster contact among its members. The Society publishes a newsletter once a year. In addition it communicates with its members and with the public via the HPG-Website. Information and suggestions are welcome.

Currently the Society focuses on four domains of interest:

1. It is our intention to supplement the collected works (published by Suhrkamp) with missing additional texts that are as yet difficult to obtain, and to republish texts that are out of print.

2. We aspire to making Plessner’s work internationally accessible through translations in various languages (English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, etc.), especially Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch.

3. It is the aim of the HPG to keep the memory of Plessner alive for the German, European, and global public. One way we serve this aim is by means of our Wiesbadener Helmuth Plessner Award.

4. Finally, the Society organizes and encourages academic meetings in three formats: International Helmuth Plessner Conferences; conferences on special topics; workshops (organized by members of the HPG on specific topics with support from the HPG).

The Helmuth Plessner Society is an independent registered non-profit organization. New members are of course more than welcome to join. The annual membership fee is: € 52,-; reduced: € 25,-. The executive committee decides on applications for the reduced fee.

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