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Teleology and Transcendence

A master class led by Fr. Anselm Ramelow O.P. (Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology)

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Teleology and Transcendence
Teleology and Transcendence

Time & Location

Jan 11, 2020, 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM PST

Zephyr Institute, 560 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

About the Event

Before his passing, German philosopher Robert Spaemann (1927-2018) was considered “one of the most important living thinkers in Europe today” (Oxford University Press). This master class led by Fr. Anselm Ramelow O.P., a former doctoral student of Spaemann’s and a scholar of his work, provided an introduction to Spaemann’s thought in its teleological and transcendent context. Participants discussed Spaemann’s understanding of teleology and transcendence vis-à-vis being, nature, freedom, personhood, and intersubjectivity. They also considered his contributions to bioethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of technology.


Fr. Anselm Ramelow O.P. is Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy Department Chair at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA. He holds a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Munich. At Munich, he studied with Robert Spaemann, and wrote a dissertation titled Gott, Freiheit, Weltenwahl. Die Metaphysik der Willensfreiheit zwischen Antonio Perez, S. J. (1599-1649) und G.W. Leibniz (1646-1716), investigating the concept of “the best of all possible worlds.” In 2018, he published the first comprehensive, article-length overview of Robert Spaemann’s thought in Communio. He regularly teaches courses on modern philosophy and theology, covering Leibniz, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Heidegger, phenomenology, and the linguistic turn in philosophy and theology.


Metaphysics and Ontology (2:00–3:00 p.m.) Teleology as Transcendence Nature and Violence

Personhood and Solipsism (3:15–4:15 p.m.) Self-Transcendence, Happiness and Solipsism Stepping Beyond Oneself: Personhood

Ethics and History (4:30–5:30 p.m.) Love True Self-Transcendence, False Wholes and Parts History as Self-Preservation and Transcendence

Dinner 5:30 p.m.


  • Anselm Ramelow, “Teleology and Transcendence: The Thought of Robert Spaemann,” Communio 45 (Fall-Winter 2018), 567-612
  • Robert Spaemann, “Is Every Human Being a Person?,” The Thomist 60.3 (July 1996), 463-474
  • Robert Spaemann, “What does it mean to say that ‘Art imitates nature’?,” A Robert Spaemann Reader: Philosophical Essays on Nature, God, and the Human Person, ed. and trans. D.C. Schindler and Jeanne Heffernan Schindler, Oxford University Press, 2015
  • Robert Spaemann, “How Could You Do What You Did?,” Communio 36 (Winter 2009), 643-651
  • Robert Spaemann and Holger Zaborowski, “An animal that can promise and forgive,” Communio 34 (Winter 2007), 511-521

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