Lambert Zuidervaart

Headshot of Lambert Zuidervaart

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy

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"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

About My Work

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 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 more recent work, which spells 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 Shattering Silos: Reimagining Knowledge, Politics, and Social Critique (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022). The culminating statements are in Social Domains of Truth: Science, Politics, Art, and Religion (Routledge, 2023) and Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth (SUNY Press, 2024).

Currently I am doing research on what the world’s religions can contribute to the development of an Earth-sustaining and life-giving global ethic. I also post regularly about contemporary issues in my blog Love [of] Wisdom, pursuing what I call “philosophy with a human heart.”

Research Foci


Lambert Zuidervaart, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy

BA (Dordt College), MPhil (Institute for Christian Studies), PhD (VU University, Amsterdam)

Lambert Zuidervaart is an internationally 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. His most recent work articulates a new conception of truth for an allegedly post-truth society. Lambert’s books include Social Domains of Truth: Science, Politics, Art, and Religion (Routledge, 2023), and Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School: Critical Retrieval (MIT Press, 2017); three volumes of essays in reformational philosophy titled Shattering Silos: Reimagining Knowledge, Politics, and Social Critique (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2022), 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 three books on Adorno: Adorno, Heidegger, and the Politics of Truth (SUNY Press, 2024),  Social Philosophy after Adorno (Cambridge UP, 2007), and Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory: The Redemption of Illusion (MIT Press, 1991). He has also written two literary memoirs to honour canine companions: Dog-Kissed Tears (Wipf and Stock, 2010) and To Sing Once More: Sorrow, Joy, and the Dog I Loved (Wipf and Stock, 2021). More information about Lambert’s publications and activities is on his personal website.

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.

(Find my CV under "Files" below.)


My Books

My Articles, Book Chapters, and Other Works

My Website

My Blog

More of my publications and projects can be found listed on the ICS Research Portal. For a comprehensive list of my publications, please see my CV.



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