History and basic structure of the society

The Helmuth Plessner Society (Helmuth Plessner Gesellschaft, HPG) is a forum for the renewed interest in the thought, work, and life of the philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist Helmuth Plessner, as well as 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 scholarly society to systematically promote philosophical anthropology as a discipline as well as a tradition and paradigm. As a discipline, philosophical anthropology focuses on the question: who or what is the human? As a tradition and paradigm, it stands for a unique conjunction of biological, cultural, and social anthropology.

The Helmuth Plessner Society was founded on March 14, 1999, in Goettingen, Germany. The founding members were: Wolfgang Eßbach, Joachim Fischer, Kai Haucke, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Hans-Peter Krueger, Hans-Ulrich Lessing, Lolle Nauta (†), Monika Plessner (†), Walter Sprondel, and Konrad Thomas (†). Wolfgang Eßbach was elected the first president of the HPG, Lolle Nauta (†) vice president, and Joachim Fischer general secretary. The first members of the scientific advisory board were Monika Plessner (†), Hans-Peter Krueger, Walter Sprondel, Bruno Accarino, and Zdsisław Krasnodębski. In 2005, a new executive committee was elected: Hans-Peter Krueger (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 Kaempf, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, 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 Guenther (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 Krueger, Matthias Schloßberger, Volker Schuermann, and Matthias Wunsch.
In 2017, a new executive committee was elected for the next three years: Volker Schürmann (president), Marcus Düwell (vice president), and Carola Dietze (general secretary). Henrike Lerch was confirmed as treasurer for another year. The new scientific advisory board was put in place, also for a duration of three years, with Katharina Günther as representative of the Plessner family, Joachim Fischer, Marco Russo, Olivia Mitscherlich-Schönherr, and Heike Delitz as former executive committee members, as well as seven elected members: Anna Henkel, Phillip Honenberger, Gesa Lindemann, Francesca Michelini, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, Walter Seitter, and Matthias Wunsch.
In Utrecht in 2018, Thomas Dworschak was elected treasurer. Henrike Lerch took Heike Delitz’s place on the scientific advisory board.
In 2021 the president, vice president, general secretary and the scientific advisory board were reelected. Walter Seitter resigned the advisory board and Gérard Raulet was choosen to join the advisory board.
As scheduled, a new Executive Committee was elected in 2023. Gesa Lindemann became the new president, Steffen Kluck vice president and Julien Kloeg secretary general. Volker Schürmann, Carola Dietze and Marcus Düvell replaced the departing members Joachim Fischer, Marco Russo and Olivia Mitscherlich-Schönherr on the scientific advisory board.

The Helmuth Plessner Society is associated with the Helmuth Plessner Archives and the Helmuth Plessner Fund in Groningen. The archive at the University of Groningen comprises all of Plessner’s unpublished scientific work and documents, which to date have 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 research support will be reviewed 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 an annual newsletter. In addition, it communicates with its members and with the public via the HPG website. Information pertaining to Helmuth Plessner and philosophical anthropology and suggestions for improving our web presence are welcome.

Currently the Society focuses on four areas of interest:
1. We aim 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 make Plessner’s work internationally accessible through translations into 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 the Wiesbaden Helmuth Plessner Award.
4. Finally, the Society organizes and promotes academic events 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 nonprofit organization. We welcome new members. The annual membership fee is € 52; memberships at a reduced rate of € 25 are also available, pending executive committee approval.

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