Lambert Zuidervaart
Professor (Emeritus) of Philosophy
 
"The only philosophy which can be responsibly practiced in the face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption."
— Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia

Truth, Art, and Society: Redemptive Border Crossings

Many scholars regard epistemology, aesthetics, and social philosophy as philosophical subdisciplines separated by sharp borders. We often draw similar boundaries between “analytic” and “continental” traditions in philosophy. Inspired by the reformational tradition, I tend to crisscross such borders or ignore them altogether. My current work on the idea of truth arises from questions in the philosophy of art: Why are the arts important? What do they contribute to life in contemporary society? In what sense might an artwork provide knowledge and be true? I have taken up these questions in a new social philosophy of the arts, published in two volumes. The first—Artistic Truth (Cambridge UP, 2004)argues that philosophy needs a new conception of artistic truth, and it proposes one. The second—Art in Public (Cambridge UP, 2011)—offers an innovative case for public arts funding in an age of political polarization and economic globalization. These books set the stage for my current research project. I aim to spell out a comprehensive and transformative conception of truth, in dialogue with prominent philosophers in both the analytic and the continental traditions. I call this conception “holistic alethic pluralism.” Initial statements of it occur in my books Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation (McGill Queen’s UP, 2016), Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School (MIT Press, 2017), and a forthcoming volume titled Knowledge, Politics, and Social Critique: Essays in Reformational Philosophy. I hope to complete one more volume about knowledge and truth in the years ahead.


My Research Foci
  • Theories of Truth
  • Civil Society
  • Globalization
  • Critical Theory
  • Reformational Philosophy


My Bio


Lambert Zuidervaart, PhD
Professor (Emeritus) of Philosophy
BA (Dordt College), MPhil (Institute for Christian Studies), PhD (VU University, Amsterdam)

Lambert Zuidervaart is an internally recognized expert in critical theory, especially the work of Theodor Adorno, and a leading systematic philosopher in the reformational tradition. His research and teaching range across continental philosophy, epistemology, social philosophy, and philosophy of art, with an emphasis on Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Habermas. He is currently developing a new conception of truth for an allegedly post-truth society. His books include Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School: Critical Retrieval (MIT Press, 2017); two volumes of essays in reformational philosophy titled Art, Education, and Cultural Renewal (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017) and Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2016); two books on aesthetics titled Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture (Cambridge UP, 2011) and Artistic Truth: Aesthetics, Discourse, and Imaginative Disclosure (Cambridge UP, 2004); and Social Philosophy after Adorno (Cambridge UP, 2007). He has also written two literary memoirs to honour canine companions: Dog-Kissed Tears (Wipf and Stock, 2010) and a new book manuscript tentatively titled Sure on This Shining Night: Dog Songs for a Gracious Star.

At ICS (2002-2016), Lambert held the Herman Dooyeweerd Chair in Social and Political Philosophy and served as founding Director of the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics. He was also an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty and Full Professor, status only, in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and a member of the Advanced Degree Faculty at the Toronto School of Theology. Lambert is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Philosophy at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.