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Detail from an oil painting: portrait of Moses Mendelssohn in half profile, the eyes are directed at the viewer, the left eye is highlighted by a red frame

Mendelssohn Discourses

Enlightenment: Fake News, Sentimentality, Reason (video recording available, in German)

“Should intruding sentimentality be counteracted by satire or external connection?” asked Moses Mendelssohn in 1785 in the journal Berlinische Monatsschrift. He then concluded: “Fanaticism finds company; wisdom stands alone.” The first evening in the Mendelssohn Discourses series, accompanying the exhibition “We dreamed of nothing but Enlightenment” – Moses Mendelssohn, is dedicated to the dichotomy between reason and sentimentality, fact versus fake news. How did the Enlightenment combat its opponents and how did that struggle affect it in turn? Today, in an age of disinformation and science fatigue, how do we grapple with the dilemma that Mendelssohn long ago identified?

Philosophers Carolin Emcke and Hannah Peaceman in conversation with Frederek Musall and the curators Inka Bertz and Thomas Lackmann.

recording available

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)


Carolin Emcke is a philosopher, writer, and journalist. Her books, essays, columns, and artistic interventions engage with the subjects of violence and trauma, anti-democratic sentiment and racism, sexuality and desire. Most recently, she published Für den Zweifel. Gespräche mit Thomas Strässle (In Favor of Doubt: Conversations with Thomas Strässle, 2022). Her honors and awards include the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Johann Heinreich Merck Award for Essay Writing, and the Carl von Ossietzky Award for Contemporary History and Politics.

Hannah Peaceman is a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Jena and investigates philosophy’s entanglements with antisemitism and racism from the perspective of public philosophy. Peaceman completed her doctorate in 2020 with a dissertation on the potential of Jewish perspectives for political philosophy. She is also a co-editor of the journal Jalta – Positionen zur jüdischen Gegenwart (Yalta: Positions on the Jewish Present).

Video recording from 4 May 2022

Further Events in the Series on 24 May and 5 July

Moderated by Frederek Musall and with a rotating cast of panelists, the Mendelssohn Discourses take Moses Mendelssohn’s writings as a point of departure for discussions of contemporary issues and debates. Each of the three discussion events is devoted to a thematic area: Enlightenment: Fake News, Sentimentality, Reason; Power: Tradition, State, Religion; Media Revolution: The Public Sphere, Celebrity, and the Proliferation of Imagery.

Events Pro­gram by the Mendels­sohn-Gesell­schaft

In addi­tion to the Jewish Mu­seum Berlin's pro­grams, the Mendels­sohn-Gesell­schaft is orga­nizing events accom­panying the exhi­bition.
More infor­mation and regis­tration here

Where, when, what?

  • When Wed 4 May 2022, 7 pm
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium

    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
    (Opposite the Museum)

    See location on map

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Events accompanying the exhibition: “We dreamed of nothing but Enlightenment” – Moses Mendelssohn (12)