Photo for Peter Hajnal

Peter Hajnal

Ph.D. in Philosophy 
Columbia University
Founding Co-Dean for Curriculum


Peter Hajnal joined the faculty of the European College of Liberal Arts, Berlin (now Bard College Berlin) in 2002 after an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Rutgers University (1992), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University (2003). He became Programme Director for the Academy Year Programme in 2003, and was Co-Dean of the College and of Academic Affairs from 2007-2012. Together with Thomas Norgaard he developed the Values Studies approach to liberal education. The BA in Value Studies based on this approach was introduced in 2009. The College received official recognition as a University by the Berlin Senate Department for Education in 2011 under their leadership.

In recognition of his service to the College, in 2012 he was awarded the honorary title "Founding Dean for Curriculum" by the Trustees of Bard College Berlin.

Peter has taught broadly across the Curriculum, and has participated intensively in the development and implementation of all core courses, as well as all aspects of collegiate life. His current research and teaching interests focus on the development of a genuine interdisciplinary approach to the teaching of painting, sculpture and architecture in dialogue with philosophical texts, where the artworks themselves are taken seriously as partners in that dialogue. Additional research interests include the philosophies of interdisciplinary and general education, theories of rationality (and normativity more broadly construed), Marxist conceptions of literature, the philosophy of mathematics, a little bit of cognitive science, and some areas of intellectual history.

Recent Papers and Talks

'Value Studies as a form of Liberal Education' (with Thomas Norgaard). The Importance of Learning: Liberal Education in Historical Perspective. Conference of International Society of Intellectual History. June 2013 Princeton, New Jersey.

'Value Studies and Democratic Citizenship'. 2013 Washingon Meeting of the BTtoP Project. Study subsequently published in Civic Engagement, Civic Development, and Higher Education. Ed. Jill Reich. BTtoP. 2014.

'Innocence, Self-reflexivity, Realism and Cavell's thesis'. The International Lisbon Conference on Philosophy and Film: Thinking Reality and Time Through Film. 6-10 May 2013. Lisbon, Portugal.

'Trusting the Amateur: What Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross May Teach us About the Study of Art' What is Liberal education For? A Conference at St John's College on the 50th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Campus. 15-18. October, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Classes Taught at Bard College Berlin:

Core Courses:
Renaissance Art and Thought: Renaissance Florence
Co-designed and taught Project Year Core Courses on Film and Philosophy, and Marx.
As Programme Director of the Academy Year Programme from 2003-2007 he participated actively in the design, coordination and teaching of most Academy Year Core courses.
In 2007 proposed, coordinated, and taught the Academy Year Core Course on Art, Morality, and Politics in Renaissance Florence.

Foundational and Advanced Courses:
Secular Humanism
Piero's "inversions"
Sculpture and Philosophy
Philosophy and Painting
Richard Wollheim's Art and it's Objects
First-order logic

Project Year Research Topics supervised at Bard College Berlin:
Kant's Critque of Judgement - Mary Mothersill's Beauty Restored - Methods in Philosophy: Conceptual Analysis and Phenomenological Description
Walter Benjamin: Views on the Autonomous, Popular and Avant-garde Art, and the Aesthetic Debate with Theodor Adorno
​​​​​The Epistemological Suicide of Narcissus - an enquiry into the relationship between conceptual art and philosophy