The Idea of Europe
European Philosophical History and Faith in God A Posteriori
Studies of Europe and European identity today are dominated by the methods of the social sciences. Europe is understood as a geographical region of a global totality, and treated in political-economic terms; and European identity is largely investigated through social surveys. This paper explores the possibility of a philosophical contribution to understanding Europe; an understanding based on the idea that Europe is itself a distinctively philosophical phenomenon, and that its modern geopolitical condition has an irreducibly geophilosophical significance.
Simon Glendinning is Professor of European Philosophy in the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since 2007 he has been making a slow transition from working primarily on themes in European Philosophy to contributing to the development of the Philosophy of Europe. Still working in a broadly post-Kantian and phenomenological tradition, he has recently completed a two-volume book entitled "Europe's Promise" (forthcoming, OUP).
Europe and Eurocentrism
In this article I explore how philosophical thinking about God, reason, humanity and history has shaped ideas of Europe, focusing on Hegel. For Hegel, Europe is the civilisation that, by way of Christianity, has advanced the spirit of freedom which originated in Greece. Hegel is a Eurocentrist, whose work indicates how Eurocentrism as a broader discourse has shaped received conceptions of Europe. I then distinguish ‘external’ and ‘internal’ ways of approaching ideas of Europe and defend the former approach, on which Europe’s self-understanding is not a phenomenon purely internal to Europe but has always been shaped by Europe’s relations with non-European cultures. I note Egypt’s influence on the ancient Greeks and the role of Europe’s colonisation of America, and suggest that European civilisation could be rejuvenated by more open acknowledgement of these relations with others.
Alison Stone is Professor of European Philosophy at Lancaster University. She is the author of Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's Philosophy (SUNY Press, 2004), Luce Irigaray and the Philosophy of Sexual Difference (Cambridge University Press, 2006), An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy (Polity Press, 2007), Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and Maternal Subjectivity (Routledge, 2011) and The Value of Popular Music (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). She edited The Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2011) and has co-edited the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy (Routledge, forthcoming 2017). She co-edits the journal The Hegel Bulletin.
14-16 July 2017
School of Philosophy
Psychology and Language Sciences
Dugald Stewart Building
3 Charles Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9AD
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