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Science Café on 10 March 2017 with Leibniz-Professor Vincenzo de Risi: "Leibniz and the Universality of Reason"


The next Science Café will be held on 10 March 2017 at 7pm on the topic "Leibniz and the Universality of Reason". We cordially invite you to meet and discuss with our Leibniz-Professor Vincenzo de Risi and his guests.

We cordially invite you to meet and discuss with our Leibniz-Professor Vincenzo de Risi and his guests. Prof. Dr. Michael Kempe (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek Hannover) and Prof. Dr. Eberhard Knobloch (TU Berlin).

The notion of the universal reason was theoretically grounded on several claims of Leibniz’s philosophy, such as that the common essence of all substances (monads) is reason. Such a claim also grounded many intellectual projects in Leibniz’s life, as the possibility of a characteristica universalis and his studies on mathematics, logic and language, and was embodied in various activities of Leibniz's political life: from the attempt at a reunification of the Churches, to the foundation of academies of science and the fostering of the circulation of knowledge. We would like to explore how all these different aspects may come together to form a distinctive rationalist trend toward the age of Enlightenment.

The Science Café at the Research Academy Leipzig allows for academic exchange in an informal and comfortable atmosphere and offers interested parties access to academic discourse.

New Website


From now on, the Research Academy Leipzig is to be reached at our redesigned webpage at a new address. Doctoral researchers, Postdocs and university teachers may access all information on our offer at

With the launch of the new website, our former representation at the website of Leipzig University (former and the website of Competence School ELSYS (former will go offline and their content will be displayed clearly on the new website. From now on, the registration for our workshops will also take place at

If you would like to share your opinion, wishes or ideas on the new website, please send an email to ral(at)

Seminar „Junge Wissenschaft und Praxis“, 19th and 20th December


This years Seminar on the topic "Scientific Methods in the Digital Age - Science meets Humanities in the Context of Modern Digital Techniques" will again take place on Schloss Machern as a 2-day-workshop addressing...

Current developments in research give rise to an intensive methodical discourse which is often in a simplifying manner connected with the term “big data”. In fact, the scientific interaction which is evolving around new techniques of information and data analysis and processing runs much deeper and touches much more of scientific methodical grounds than the fashionable term referring merely to large quantities suggests. A key question in the interdisciplinary scientific discourse addresses the opposition of hypothesis driven versus data driven research. This concerns for example the issue whether guiding questions for a scientific project arise out of the given material or whether they are a priori chosen and determine the process of approaching material. How does the researcher arrive at guiding hypotheses out of given material? How are they tested? How does one arrive at interpretations and explanations?

Confirmed speakers at the symposium will be:

  • Christoph Kleine, Institute for the Study of Religions, Leipzig Univ.
  • Manfred Laubichler, Developmental Evolution Lab, Arizona State Univ.
  • Richard McElreath, Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
  • Olivier Morin, Minds and Traditions Research Group, MPI for the Science of Human History, Jena
  • Sebastian Schüler, Institute for the Study of Religions, Leipzig Univ.
  • Peter Stadler, Bioinformatics, Leipzig Univ.

To create an inspiring atmosphere for a truly free exchange of ideas all participants are invited by the Research Academy to stay overnight at the ‘Hotel Kavalierhaus’ right next to ‘Schloss Machern’ and enjoy full board sponsored by the Heinz Nixdorf – Hanns Martin Schleyer Stiftung.

Find more information and the registration link here.

Pursuing a Doctorate in Leipzig - A Guide for Doctoral Researchers


As a result of intense work, it is our pleasure to release the new guide for doctoral researchers ‘Pursuing a Doctorate in Leipzig’, a joint project of the PromovierendenRat and the Research Academy Leipzig.

This extensive brochure provides a lot of helpful information concerning the beginning of a doctoral project, meant to facilitate the introduction into this important qualification phase for doctoral students and those interested in pursuing a doctorate.

First published as a bilingual guide, this third edition has undergone major improvements and updates. It is an important pilot project acting as example for similar initiatives at other universities.

The printed version can be purchased for a protective fee of 2 Euros directly at the PromovierendenRat or the Research Academy. Please turn to us if you are interested. The digital version of the brochure is available for free download here.

Leibniz-Professor in the Winter Semester 2016/17


In the winter semester 2016/17, Vincenzo De Risi from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is appointed as Leibniz-Professor in the Leibniz Programme of the Research Academy.

De Risi studied philosophy and mathematics at the University of Rome, and took his PhD at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Later on, he worked at the Scuola Normale, was Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Technische Universität Berlin, visiting fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and the Leibniz-Archiv in Hannover, and Research Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (2010-2016), where he led a research group working on the history of geometry in the Early Modern Age.

De Risi’s main field of research is the history of epistemology, with special emphasis on the relations between the history of philosophy and the history of mathematics. In history of philosophy, he has mainly worked and published on Leibniz and Kant, while in history of mathematics (and mathematical epistemology) his work concentrated on the development of axiomatics from Antiquity to the Early Modern Age, and on the birth of non-Euclidean geometry. More recently, De Risi also worked on metaphysics and the foundations of geometry in ancient times (Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus), as well as in the Arabic Middle Ages.

During his stay in Leipzig as Leibniz Professor, De Risi will teach graduate classes on Leibniz’s and Kant’s theories of space, the connection of the metaphysics of space with the epistemology of geometry, and the relevance of it for the overall assessment on the birth of idealism.

Seminars held in WiSe 16/17 by Vincenzo De Risi:

  • Kant’s Philosophy of Space, Tuesday 17-19 c. t., SG 105
  • Leibniz’s Philosophy of Space, Wednesday 17-19 c. t., SG 101

Those interested are kindly invited to hear de Risi’s inaugural lecture “Leibniz and the Science of Space“ on 1 November 2016 at 7pm at the Neuer Senatssaal, Ritterstraße 26. The lecture will be followed by a reception.