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WHO IS … Richard David Precht ?

Richard David Precht, philosopher, journalist and author, was born in 1964 in Solingen. He received his doctorate in 1994 at the University of Cologne and has been working for almost all major German newspapers and broadcasters. Precht was a Fellow at the "Chicago Tribune". In 2000 he was awarded the journalism prize for biomedicine. He wrote novels and nonfiction. With his philosophy book "Who am I - and if so, how many?"(2007), that has been for years on the nonfiction bestseller list, he enthused readers and critics. It got translated into over 30 languages. His books "Liebe - ein unordentliches Gefühl" (2009) and "Die Kunst kein Egoist zu sein"(2010) were as well successful bestsellers. Since May 2011 Precht is an Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. Since September 2012 he presents the new philosophical TV magazine 'Precht' (ZDF).


Extract from Cultural Strategies for a new world – Acts of the Forum d’Avignon 2009

 “Culture and hard sciences should be able to live together, which is not something that can happen bureaucratically in some sort of commission or Secretariat General. We need to see the two as being intertwined from the very beginning. We want to have growth, but we know that society cannot grow inevitably. A society that grows forever threatens its own future. Innovation is the code which governs the way growth works and if that code does not work, we need a new code. We therefore need new ways of compensating work – it must not just be monetary compensation. We need new incentives for work and progress. Earning money is great when you are poor, but when you increase your income to a certain point, your happiness does not increase directly in proportion to your increasing income. We therefore need to find new incentives and we need to have new growth. We need a new type of religious credo in our society because we have not been able to find ways of getting these things to work. In all sorts of indexes on happiness and human satisfaction, France is ranked 70th place and Germany is not far, whereas poorer societies often rank at the very top in terms of personal satisfaction. This raises the question, what are we doing wrong? Can we continue to measure happiness in terms of wealth and GDP? How do we measure overall satisfaction and not just GDP? I think this will require a revolution in culture and social sciences and natural sciences. We have to make that approach widespread in our society. A General Secretariat of exact sciences and the soul is what we need. In fact, we need a new Enlightenment”


Click here to discover the videos of Richard David Precht during the previous editions of the Forum d’Avignon.