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Susan Neiman

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Title: Susan Neiman  
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Subject: 2002 in philosophy, Atheism
Collection: 1955 Births, Harvard University Alumni, Jewish American Writers, Living People, Tel Aviv University Faculty, Yale University Faculty
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Susan Neiman

Susan Neiman

(1955-03-27) March 27, 1955

Atlanta, Georgia
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Enlightenment
Main interests
Morality · History of philosophy · Political philosophy · Philosophy of religion

Susan Neiman (born March 27, 1955) is an American moral philosopher, cultural commentator, and essayist. She has written extensively on the juncture between Enlightenment moral philosophy, metaphysics, and politics, both for scholarly audiences and the general public. She currently lives in Germany, where she is the Director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam.


Biography and career

Born in Harvard University, earning her Ph.D. under the direction of John Rawls and Stanley Cavell. During graduate school, she spent several years of study at the Free University of Berlin. Slow Fire, a memoir about her life as a Jewish woman in 1980s Berlin, appeared in 1992. From 1989 to 1996 she taught philosophy at Yale University, and from 1996 to 2000 she was an associate professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University. In 2000 she assumed her current position at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. She is the mother of three grown children.

Neiman has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, a Research Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, and a Senior Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. She is now a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Her books have won prizes from PEN, the Association of American Publishers, and the American Academy of Religion. Her shorter pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, and Dissent. In Germany, she has written for Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Freitag, among other publications.

Awards and honors

In 2014 Neiman was the recipient of the International Spinoza Prize and an honorary doctorate from the University of Sankt Gallen. She delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at the University of Michigan in 2010.


~ from Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists
~ from “It’s the Metaphysics, Stupid,” The Boston Globe, February 28, 2008
~ from Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy

Selected bibliography


  • Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, 1992, New York: Schocken.
  • The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant, 1994, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, 2002, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Fremde sehen anders: Zur Lage der Bundesrepublik, 2005, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
  • Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists, 2008, New York: Harcourt.
  • Why Grow Up?, 2014, London: Penguin (series Philosophy in Transit).

Book chapters

  • "After Auschwitz, After Hiroshima: Remembering Which Past?" in Tester, Critical Theory and Nuclear Bombs, Thesis Eleven, 2015
  • "Victims and Heroes," in Matheson, ed., The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 2012, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
  • "Subversive Einstein," in Galison, Holton and Schweber, ed., Einstein for the 21st Century, 2008, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • "Amerikanische Träume," in Honneth, Kemper und Klein, ed., Bob Dylan, 2007, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Newspaper and magazine articles

  • "History and Guilt," Aeon, 2013.
  • "Was ist Religion?," Die Zeit, 2013.
  • "What It All Means," The New York Times, 2011.
  • "Is Morality Driven by Faith?" The Washington Post/Newsweek, 2008.

External links

  • Official Website Provides biography along with publications and appearances.
  • Einstein Forum Profile
  • Interview NOW with Bill Moyers, PBS (January 2, 2004).
  • Lecture "Beyond Belief," Conference at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA (November 6, 2006).
  • Interview Tavis Smiley Show, PBS (May 13, 2008).
  • Roundtable Discussion Progressive Book Club (July 2008).
  • On Religion and Reason Video for Big Think (Uploaded June 5, 2008).
  • Making Progress: Rethinking Enlightenment Lecture, RSA (July 1, 2009).
  • Susan Neiman interview on New Statesman (July 2008).
  • Review of Moral Clarity in Slate Magazine
  • Review of Moral Clarity on the
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