Thinking Europe: Philosophy, Autonomy and Culture
As part of the 4th Euroacademia Global Conference 'Europe Inside-Out: Europe and Europeaness Exposed to Plural Observers', 23 – 24 May 2014, Athens, Greece
Europe was not evolutionary shaped as a unitary entity but emerged from a tumultuous history as a ‘self-organizing vertigo’ (Edgar Morin). Some cultural unity within Europe is claimed by the daily mentalities and discursive practices even if it’s just under the form of a unita debole, to put it in Gianni Vattimo’s terms. The ‘European dream’ (Jeremy Rifkin) forms at the crossroad between the ideal and real multiculturalism. Europe became a category of thought – even if an essentially contested one – through dispute, difference, inclusive and exclusive practices. The idea of a Europe often involves a persistent and camouflaged historicism intrinsic in the European version of quasi - universalistic modernity (Gerard Delanty). The works of Cornelius Castoriadis on reflective questioning of socially instituted representations are useful in reminding us of what Europe stands for as a project among others. If there is a minimal specificity of Europe that could be defended, Castoriadis has argued throughout his work, it is precisely the lack of an unquestionable point from which a European distinctiveness could be reified. By historical contingency, for Castoriadis, it was in Europe that a genuine interest in the others as others emerged in the frame of the project of social and individual autonomy originated in ancient Greece and reasserted by the European modernity. The project of autonomy as essential for the European self-configuration implies an unlimited possibility of questioning our own institution and of acting in regard to it. The European specificity comes from its traditions originated in Ancient Greece encouraging the constant and never-ending reflective re-evaluation.
This panel aims to revisit precisely this patrimony of critical thinking. It is the belief implicit in this panel that the contemporary understandings of Europe should be placed more firmly within this tradition of aspiration for autonomy as putting into question the institutions of the society and their emanated representations and shake the walls of their cognitive closure. This is because, autonomy as unlimited questioning is a premise and not an outcome of European culture. The patrimonial European identity can be conceived as an experienced identification with a generous culture from which many individuals extract and share feelings of belonging. It is the role of critical thinking and philosophy to place the Europeaness in touch with its generous, magmatic cultural elements and question historically circumstantial projects of political appropriations of identitarian claims.
The panel welcomes papers on any theoretical effort for understanding Europe and Europeaness, be it contemporary or a call to re-reading the past.
Suggested topics include:
~ Thinking Europe – Arguments for a Fragile Unity of the European Culture
~ Ancient Greece and the Theoretical Foundation of the European Project
~ Elements of European Histories of Philosophy
~ Philosophy and Culture: Specifics of the European Thought
~ Autonomy, Critical Evaluation and Culture
~ European Philosophical Traditions
~ Fragments of European Political Thought
~ Eurocentric Thinking and Claims of Universalism
~ European Thinking and the ‘Other’
~ Is there a European Philosophy Pedigree?
~ Castoriadis: Europe and Autonomy
~ Derrida: Europe as a ‘Pre-Adult’ Space of Liberty
~ Foucault and Eurocentric Thinking
~ Enlightenment, Modernity and Grand Narratives
~ Europe and the Responsibility of Thinking
If interested to apply, please send your 300 words abstract together with the name and affiliation until 20th of April 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org
See the full details of the conference before applying: