A Figure, a Concept, an Idea?
Published by: Indiana University Press
Is the idea of Europe outdated? The concept of European unity, the animating spirit of the European Union, seems increasingly fragile in the face of far-right populist movements. In Locating Europe , Rodolphe Gasché attempts to answer the question of how to think about Europe. Is it a figure, a concept, or an idea? Is there anything still compelling and urgent about the idea of Europe?
By looking at phenomenologist and postphenomenological thinkers in the second half of the 20th century, Gasché reveals that Europe is more than just one geographical and cultural entity. The idea of Europe is based on common foundations: a distinctive conception of reason, of self-criticism, of responsibility, freedom, equality, human rights, and democracy, and it is these foundations that are under threat.
In Locating Europe: A Figure, a Concept, an Idea? Gasché engages the philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Karl Jaspers, Karl Löwith, and others, focuses on the most significant philosophical representations of Europe, and explores the potential, and especially the limits, of the notion of Europe.
2. Without a Horizon
3. In Light of Light
4. The Form of the Concept
5. Axial Time
6. Eastward Trajectories
7. Feeling Anew for the Idea of Europe
8. An Idea in the Kantian Sense?
9. Responsibility, a Strange Concept
10. An Immemorial Remainder
11. Beyond the Idea of Europe
From the outset, Rodolphe Gasché makes clear that Europe—not as a geographical or even geopolitical entity, but as an idea—has entered a time of crisis of the foundations that have long defined this idea. This crisis calls into question some of the most cherished assumptions that have defined the idea of Europe: reason, self-criticism, responsibility, freedom, equality, human rights, democracy, and more.~Dennis J. Schmidt, Between Word and Image
At a time when the animating spirit of the European Union is ever more fragile as far-right populist movements, for the most part nationalist and anti-immigrant, continue to win significant percentages at the ballot boxes: Is there still something compelling and urgent about the idea of Europe? Rodolphe Gasché does not shrink from acknowledging Europe's history and yet asks if there is something about the idea of Europe that calls for renewed thinking rather than dismissal.~Peg Birmingham, Hannah Arendt and Human Rights
At a time when Europe's centrality and relevance continue to be questioned in politics, culture, and, especially here, the university, Rodolphe Gasché traces the intense philosophical debate that has been taking place for more than a century over the very meaning of this figure or idea called "Europe." No one has more astutely located and analyzed the geopolitical and philosophical stakes of this debate, and no one has more brilliantly demonstrated why this debate should matter to all of us today.~Michael Naas, author of Plato and the Invention of Life
Today, in face of rising xenophobia all over the world, the self-critical thinking that Gasché reveals to be at the heart of the European philosophical project could hardly be more necessary. Locating Europe demonstrates how European thinking is marked by an openness to the other that is informed not by the desire to appropriate and assimilate, but by an awareness that it is only by respecting differences that a culture can survive and flourish.~Samuel Weber, Northwestern University
Gasché's volume is a deft and penetrating exploration of what philosophical Europe could, and perhaps must, look like today~Jeffrey A. Bernstein, Philosophy in Review
Overall, Locating Europe: A Figure, a Concept, an Idea? is a superb addition to the European phenomenological tradition. The collected essays demonstrate the multiple attitudes one might take in responding to the European question as well as defend the privileged role of phenomenology in reflecting on that question.~Jacob Saliba, Phenomenological Reviews