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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Philosophy in the Turkish Republic: Processes of Philosophical Reception in the Context of Cultural Transformation

Responsible for the doctoral project: Şevket Ateş, M.A.
Funded by: URPP Asia and Europe
Project duration: March 2006 – February 2009
Tutor: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rudolph
Research field: Concepts and Taxonomies

Prof. Dr. Ernst Aster (1880-1948). Professor für Philosophie an der Istanbul Üniversitesi (1936-1948)


The aim of the dissertation is to analyze some significant aspects concerning the processes of reception of European philosophy in the early period of the Turkish Republic. Hereby the main research issue is on the role of philosophers as cultural mediators in the field of philosophy and the function attributed to philosophy in this context. Special emphasis is given on the one hand to the activities and contributions of German émigré philosophers in Turkey, refugees from Nazism, and on the other hand to the new generation of republican philosophers who studied mostly abroad in Germany. Thus, the focus is on the “german-turkish philosophical tradition”. The historical background was determined by the multiple reforms of the Kemalist era – in this case especially by Atatürk´s radical university reform of 1933. Accordingly the philosophical development can be interpreted as a specific indicator for and an expression of cultural transfer and transformation in connection with the processes of "westernization“ and “modernization” – particularly since philosophy has been sometimes even considered as a tool or fundamental for the essential “Europeanization of the Turkish mind” and the “entrance into a new civilization”.


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Prof. Dr. Ernst von Aster (1880-1948)

Professor für Philosophie an der Istanbul Üniversitesi (1936-1948)