Manuel Gebhardt studied Philosophy, Political Theory, Religious Studies, German Studies and Art History at the University of Bamberg. His Magister Thesis in Philosophy centered on Sustainability and Global Justice.
Subsequently, Manuel worked on a BMBF-project researching the effects of Prenatal Diagnostics in regard to a society’s interaction with disabled people. In the context of this project, Manuel raised the question whether art could help reconciling prima (and second) facie implacable ethical positions – a subject which he decided to focus on more deeply. At Harvard, his research will investigate the role that works of art (especially literary narratives as well as film by the uniqueness of its mediality) can play in an aesthetic and moral education of men in a Schillerian sense.
Manuel is very interested in how Schiller’s thoughts have been revived by the Frankfurt School, particularly by Marcuse, to postulate an “Aesthetic Dimension“ in Critical Theory; and in how to make these thoughts fruitful for a 21th Century “Ethics of Selbstdenken“, in order to reconcile the ethical concepts of duty and inclination (cf. Schiller’s ideal: Schoene Seele) – thereby bridging the gap between knowing what is right and doing what is right.