Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Conference: ‘Ideals and the Ideal in Kant’, Bogazici University, May 23rd-26th, 2012

with one comment

All talks will be in the Turgut Noyan Salonu (North Campus, next to the library). Details can be found here.

The program (including links to some handouts) is below the fold.

Wednesday May 23rd

Morning Session 10.00 – 12.30

Kenneth Westphal (UEA): “Freedom and Universal Causal Determinism: Constitutive Premise or Explanatory Ideal?”

RespondentCourtney Fugate (AUB)

Anita Leirfall (Bergen): “The Real and the Ideal in Kant’s Directions [Gegenden] (1768)”

Afternoon Session: 14.00 – 17.30

Uygar Abaci (UBC): From the “Only Possible Proof” to the Ideal of Pure Reason: A Modal Shift”

Johannes Fritsche (Bogazici):`”The History and Context of Kant’s Transcendental Ideal of Reason.”

Respondent: Gamze Keskin Yurdakurban (Istanbul University)

Eléonore Dispersyn (Ricoeur Foundation, Paris): “The Shadow of Radical Evil and the New Ideal of Hope in Kant’s Philosophy of Religion.” Handout here

Respondent: Tugce Nomanoglu (Bilgi)

Thursday, May 24th

Morning Session 10.00 – 12.30

Jennifer Uleman (SUNY-Purchase): “What We Think About When We Think About Ideals”

Christine Lopes (School of Advanced Studies, London): “Disorders of Rationality and the Ideal of Reason”

Afternoon Session 14.00 – 16.30

Sandra Raponi (Merrimack College): “Kant’s Unrealizable Cosmopolitan Ideal.”

Respondent: Serhat Kılıkçıer (Boğaziçi)

Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi): “Impossible Ideals and the Ought-implies-can Principle.”  here‘s a draft of my paper. It’s very rough.

Respondent: Umut Eldem (Boğaziçi)

Friday, May 25th

Morning Session 10.00-12.30

Jens Timmermann (St Andrews): “Ideal or Pragmatism? Sympathy in Kant’s ‘Doctrine of Virtue’, §§ 34, 35”. Handout here.

Kate Moran (Brandeis): “Between Knowing and Hoping: Kant on the Highest Good.” Handout here.

Afternoon Session: 14.00 – 17.30

Josiah Saunders (Sheffield): “Reason’s Capacity for Ideas and the Intelligible World in GMM III.” Handout here.

Martin Sticker (St Andrews): Is the common man the ideal moral agent? Kant on common moral capacities, and the method of practical inquiry.”

Respondent: Çağlar Çömez (Boğaziçi)

Bana Bashour (AUB): “Kantian Exceptionalism”

Saturday, May 26th

Morning Session 10.00 – 12.30

Ido Geiger (Ben-Gurion) and Aviv Reiter (Tel Aviv): “The Ideal of Beauty and the Normal Idea of a Species: Human and Natural Beauty.” Handout here

Emine Tuna (Alberta): “From Ideal to Exemplary Beauty”

Afternoon Session 14.00 – 16.30

Christopher Johns (AUB): “The Role of Striving and Discord in Kant’s Ideal of Moral Perfection”

Charlotte Alderwick (Sheffield): The Role of the Ideal and the Concept of God in Kant.” Handout here

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm

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  1. Cosmos and Europe
    by Francesco Tampoia
    Abstract: Europe, where are you going? In the age of globalization, the paper written in philosophical style aims chiefly at a ‘true cosmopolitan vision of Europe’. From the analysis on the current financial and economical crisis of European Union (Balibar, Habermas) it comes to a careful reading of Kantian For Perpetual Peace, and gathers Kantian interesting, still topical, suggestions on the matter.
    Key words: É. Balibar. J. Habermas. I. Kant.
    Part 1-The philosophers for Europe-
    On May 25 -2010 Guardian, about two years ago, Étienne Balibar wrote of EU as a ‘dead political project’. He discussed on a series of questions: the possible default of Greece, the expansive European rescue loan, the condition of devastating budget cuts, the Portuguese and Spanish debts, the threat on the value and the very existence of the euro, and the announcement of budget austerity measures in several member states.
    Clearly, this is only the beginning of a very heavy crisis. The euro is the weak link in the chain, and so is Europe itself. There can be little doubt that catastrophic consequences are coming. The Greeks have been the first victims, but they will hardly be the last, of a politics of ‘rescuing the European currency’, measures which all citizens ought to be allowed to debate, because all of them will be affected by the outcome. However, the discussion is deeply biased, because essential determinations are hidden or dismissed.
    Balibar went on with some reflections. ‘If in its current form, under the influence of the dominant social forces, the European construction may have produced some degree of institutional harmonisation, and generalised some fundamental rights- which is not negligible- it has not produced a convergent evolution of national economies, a zone of shared prosperity. Some countries are dominant, others are dominated. The peoples of Europe may not have antagonistic interests, but the nations increasingly do.
    As it is well known any Keynesian strategy to generate public ‘trust’ in the economy rests on three interdependent pillars: a stable currency, a rational system of taxes, but also a social policy, aiming at full employment. This third aspect has been quasi -systematically ignored in most current commentaries. Furthermore, all this debate concerning the euro monetary system and the future of Europe will remain entirely abstract unless it is articulated to the real trends of globalisation, which the financial crisis will powerfully accelerate, unless they are politically addressed by the peoples whom they affect and their leaders.
    Balibar added ‘We are witnessing a transition from one form of international competition to another: no longer (mainly) a competition among productive capitals, but a competition among national territories, which use tax exemptions and pressure on the wages of labour to attract more floating capital than their neighbours.’ Now, clearly, whether Europe works as an effective system of solidarity among its members to protect them from ‘systemic risks’, or simply sets a juridical framework to promote a greater degree of competition among them, will determine the future of Europe politically, socially, and culturally.
    There is also a very important tendency: a transformation of the international division of labour, which radically destabilises the distribution of employment in the world. This is a new global structure where north and south, east and west are now exchanging their places. And, Europe, or most of it, will experience a brutal increase of inequalities: a collapsing of the middle classes, a shrinking of skilled jobs, a displacement of ‘volatile’ productive industries, a regression of welfare and social rights, and a destruction of cultural industries and general public services.
    At this point we cannot help asking: is this the beginning of the end for the EU, a construction that started 50 years ago on the basis of an age-old utopia, but now proves unable to fulfil its promises? The answer, unfortunately, is yes: sooner or later, this will be inevitable, and possibly not without some violent turmoil… Unless it finds the capacity to start again on radically new bases, Europe is a dead political project.
    To be sure the breaking of the EU would inevitably abandon its peoples to the hazards of globalisation to an even greater degree on the one hand. On the other, a new foundation of Europe does not guarantee any success, but at least it gives her a chance of gaining some geopolitical leverage. With one condition, that all the challenges involved in the idea of an original form of post-national federation are seriously and courageously met. With the assumption that a new sharp democracy cannot avoid confronting the current crisis of liberalism–the fact that liberalism as an ideology is exhausted, that neo-liberalism is a facade, and that we live in a new political climate. More, these days the worldwide neo-liberalism has embraced an extremely savage form of capitalism, especially when it makes use and abuse of the ideas of democracy and liberty as the justification for the operation of neoliberal capitalism and practice of financial imperialism.
    These involve setting up a common public authority, which is neither a state nor a simple governance of politicians and experts; securing genuine equality among the nations, thus fighting against reactionary nationalisms; above all reviving democracy in the European space and resisting the current processes of ‘de-democratisation’ and ‘statism without a State’, so dear to neoliberalism. Once again, the ground of democracy and freedom becomes an issue; once again democracy simply needs to re-affirm itself. Something obvious should have been long acknowledged: there will be no progress towards federalism in Europe if democracy itself does not progress beyond the existing forms, allowing an increased influence for the people(s) in the supranational institutions.
    Does this mean that, in order to reverse the course of recent history, to shake the lethargy of a decaying political construction, we need something like a European movement, a simultaneous movement or a peaceful insurrection of popular masses who will be voicing their anger as victims of the crisis against its authors and beneficiaries, and calling for a control ‘from below’ over the secret bargainings and deals made by markets, banks, and states? Yes, indeed.
    At the same time, according to Balibar the question concerns the intellectuals: what should and could be a democratically elaborated political action against the crisis at the European level? It is the task of progressive intellectuals, whether they see themselves as reformists or revolutionaries, namely to discuss this subject and take risks. If they fail to do it, they will have no excuse.
    This the realistic and, at the same time, pessimistic picture sketched by Balibar: unless it finds the capacity to start again on radically new bases, Europe is a dead political project.
    On November 25- 2011, Der Spiegel- On line International, Jürgen Habermas in an interview stands for The Philosopher’s Mission to Save the EU. He gets really angry. He is nothing short of furious — because he takes it all personally, ‘he leans forward; he leans backward. He arranges his fidgety hands to illustrate his tirades before allowing them to fall back to his lap. He simply has no desire to see Europe consigned to the dustbin of world history’. And, in succession ‘I am speaking here as a citizen’ he says. ‘I would rather be sitting back home at my desk, believe me. But this is too important. Everyone has to understand that we have critical decisions facing us. That is why I am so involved in this debate. The European project can no longer continue in elite modus.’ As known, Europe is his lifelong project; it is the project of his generation, of the European Constitution. Usually he says clever things like: ‘In this crisis, functional and systematic imperatives collide’ — referring to sovereign debts and the pressure of the markets. Sometimes he shakes his head in consternation and says: ‘It is simply unacceptable, simply unacceptable’ — referring to the EU diktat and Greece’s loss of national sovereignty. And then he is really angry again: ‘I condemn the political parties. Our politicians have long been incapable of aspiring to anything whatsoever other than being re-elected. They have no political substance whatsoever, no convictions.’
    It is in the nature of this crisis that philosophy and bar-room politics occasionally find themselves on an equal footing. It is also in the nature of this crisis that too many people say too much, and we have someone who has approached the problems systematically, as Habermas has done in his Zur Verfassung Europas (On Europe’s Constitution), just published book.
    Zur Verfassung Europas is basically a long essay in which Habermas describes how the essence of our democracy has changed under the pressure of the crisis and the frenzy of the markets. He says that power has slipped from the hands of the people and shifted to bodies of questionable democratic legitimacy, such as the European Council. Basically, he suggests, the technocrats have long since staged a quiet coup d’état.
    But, does he have an answer to the question of which road democracy and capitalism should take?
    Habermas refers to the system that Merkel and Sarkozy have established during the crisis as a ‘post-democracy’. The European Parliament barely has any influence. The European Commission has ‘an odd, suspended position,’ without really being responsible for what it does. Habermas sees a divided Europe in which states are driven by the markets, in which the EU exerts massive influence on the formation of new governments in Italy and Greece, and in which what he so passionately defends and loves about Europe has been simply turned on its head.
    Yet, unlike Balibar, Habermas is a virtually unshakable optimist. His problem as a philosopher has always been that he appears a bit humdrum because, despite all the big words, he is basically rather intelligible. He took his cultivated rage from Marx, his keen view of modernity from Freud and his clarity from the American pragmatists. He has always been a friendly elucidator, a rationalist and an anti-romanticist. Habermas truly believes in the rationality of the people. He truly believes in a public sphere that serves to make things better.
    ‘Sometime after 2008’ says Habermas ‘I understood that the process of expansion, integration and democratization does not automatically move forward of its own accord, that it is reversible, that for the first time in the history of the EU, we are actually experiencing a dismantling of democracy. I did not think this was possible. We have reached a crossroads.’
    He is a child of the war and perseveres, even when it seems like he is about to keel over. This is important to understanding why he takes the topic of Europe so personally. It has to do with the evil Germany of yesteryear and the good Europe of tomorrow, with the transformation of past to future, with a continent that was once torn apart by guilt — and is now torn apart by debt. He speaks of a lack of political union and of ‘embedded capitalism,’ a term he uses to describe a market economy controlled by politics. He makes the amorphous entity Brussels tangible in its contradictions, and points to the fact that the decisions of the European Council, which permeate our everyday life, basically have no legal, legitimate basis. He rails against ‘political defeatism’ and begins the process of building a positive vision for Europe from the rubble of his analysis. He sketches the nation-state as a place in which the rights of the citizens are best protected, and how this notion could be implemented on a European level. He says also that states have no rights, ‘only people have rights’, and then he takes the final step and brings the peoples of Europe and the citizens of Europe into position — they are the actual historical actors in his eyes, not the states, not the governments. It is the citizens who, in the current manner that politics are done, have been reduced to spectators.
    In short, his vision is as follows: ‘The citizens of each individual country, who until now have had to accept how responsibilities have been reassigned across sovereign borders, could as European citizens bring their democratic influence to bear on the governments that are currently acting within a constitutional gray area.’
    This the Habermas’ main point and what has been missing from the vision of Europe: a formula for what is wrong with the current construction. He does not see the EU as a commonwealth of states or as a federation but, rather, as something new. It is a legal construct that the peoples of Europe have agreed upon in concert with the citizens of Europe — we with ourselves, in other words — in a dual form and omitting each respective government. Habermas prefers to speak about saving the ‘biotope of old Europe.’
    There is an alternative, he says, there is another way aside from the creeping shift in power that we are currently witnessing. The media must-it is an imperative- help citizens understand the enormous extent to which the EU influences their lives. And the politicians would certainly understand the enormous pressure that would fall upon them if Europe failed. The EU ‘should’ be democratized.
    All Habermas offers is the kind of vision that a constitutional theorist is capable of formulating: the ‘global community’ will have to sort it out. In the midst of the crisis, he still sees ‘the example of the European Union’s elaborated concept of a constitutional cooperation between citizens and states’ as the best way to build the ‘global community of citizens’. He is, after all, a pragmatic optimist. He does not say what steps will take us from worse off to better off. If the European project fails,’ he says, ‘then there is the question of how long it will take to reach the status quo again. Remember the German Revolution of 1848: When it failed, it took us 100 years to regain the same level of democracy as before.’ A vague future and a warning from the past – that is what Habermas offers us. The present is, at least for the time being, unattainable.
    As it is evident the Habermas’vision is a sort of neo-federalist model that gives wings to imagination and which in the different national arenas unchains an ample, public and dramatic debate on common interests. Only in such a way a European integrated politics can enter into action. In his view, only countermarked by a common passport European citizens can learn to recognize, beyond their national boundaries, each other as belonging to the same political community. The civic solidarity, till now limited to the national state must enlarge to that of citizens of the Union so that, for example, German and Greek are ready to give themselves reciprocal guarantee. The Habermas’model, in sum, substantiates a mayor cohesion among the countries of European Union, an enlarged basis of solidarity that aims at something like a European demos.
    No doubt, the Habermasian notion of constitutional patriotism of Europeans remains ongoing, grounded in the future. And the actual democratic deficit is not simply an institutional phenomenon, which concerns the limited powers of the European Parliament, it is also a deficit of the public sphere and of the formation of political will. The institutional manoeuvring is possible only if so far as institutional change goes hand in hand with real processes of creation of a European public sphere.
    The new European public sphere would be an arena in which the Europeans participate in discussion about matters of common concern, in an atmosphere free of coercion or dependencies that would incline individuals toward acquiescence or silence. Habermas’s institutional concerns centre on empowering voice and on disenabling other means of collective judgement within democratic arenas-coercion, markets, and tradition.
    Today, the nation-state remains an indispensable intermediary in European politics. The European civic duties, as they presently exist, can be executed only indirectly, through nation-state administrations; yet actions can be taken on the European stage only on the basis of nation-state empowerment of European authorities. Today, the EU is marked out as a state in suspension between the inter-governmental and neo-federal models.
    In order to give the European citizens more democratic control directly (and not through their national governments) over the representatives of European sovereignty (the Council, the Commission and the Court) Habermas believed in a European Constitution, unfortunately the plan failed.
    What kind of institutional and political architecture for Europe? Maybe an empirical experiment that assumes the form of model in the inner kind of post-modern federation? While it seems difficult to balance the institutions and the citizenship, to maintain stability and liberty, a network model could again risks becoming an instrument into the hands of burocracy. Will the European Union, born after the long season of modernity, succeed in gaining politics and power presently appearing divided and follow different route?
    In re-formulating and raising the main points of human existence and welfare it seems that Europe cannot help giving itself a kind of post-modern constitutional frame grounded on ethical values, a kind of totally new and cosmopolitan model.
    We need to re-address the issue of Europe. A rethink of the institutional and political architecture is needed. The way in which the European Union exercises its powers needs to be clarified.
    Part 2-The Kantian cosmopolitan Europe-
    What is, or would be the United States of Europe’s place in and in relationship to the global society? Among other things, in the article ‘A revolution Like the world Has never Seen’ published on Ovimagazine Issue 23, 2nd July 2012 -Editor: T. Kalamidas, Martin Le Fevre writes ‘it seems to me that the first question Europe needs to answer is not whether or what kind of country the EU will be, but what is “the United States of Europe’s” place in and in relation to the global society? In short, he puts forward the question of Europe and the global society.
    Sometimes, in trying to make sense of the arguments and theories of older philosophers, the reader cannot help but think of the problems they were thinking about, problems which are often versions or interesting variants of questions that we discuss in contemporary systematic debates.
    It is the case of I. Kant. Given also the remarkable contemporary bibliography on the topic ‘Kant and Europe’, in order to discuss the previous issue, I’ll make a step back of two centuries and start from I. Kant and his reflections on Ethics, Politics and Wright.
    No doubt, this specific return to Kant is up to the German scholar Otfried Hoffe who has the merit to have offered some insights on the political value of Kantian work with the book Science, Moral and Wright: the actuality of Kant for the project Europe”. In the past Jurgen Habermas expressed gratitude to Hoffe for “having recaptured for philosophy a certain segment which it has tended, since Hegel, to and almost unilaterally to jurisprudence”. Paul Ricoeur complemented the eulogy with the suggestion that “Hoffe may well be the foremost historian of political and legal philosophy in the Western world today”. Ricoeur shared his judgement with other scholars, whose extension of Kantian thinking to issues in global ethics has shown a creativity and relevancy that one will seek in vain in post-Kantian philosophers. By now, it is widely held that the Europe Union is based on Kantian ideal.
    Let us go to the 21th century. After the second centenary of Kant’s death (2004, addressing the topic “Kant and the idea of Europe” Edward Eugene Kleist wrote the article The Freedom to design nature: Kant’s strong ought→can inference in 21st century perspective, in which he pondered on the perspectives of unification of Europe moving from the German philosopher’s cosmopolitan project, worthy still today in its political, juridical and ethical aspects.
    In writing on Europe, especially in his last works, Kant doesn’t, nor could deal directly with the object Europe. Acquainted with the ancient origins of Europe and the birth of democracy in Greece, as well as with the entire development of European history, he always had in mind a universal and global vision of the world- I prefer the Greek term kόsmos instead of global.
    What new solution could Kant offer us?
    According to Kantian cosmopolitanism, all human beings plunged in their historical condition are primarily fellow citizens of the world. They are by nature fellow citizens of a world community and are divided into particular societies only by convention. Quite literally, the cosmopolitanism is a set of moral standards for living into a global world. If adopted, the cosmopolitanism would usher in an age of greater understanding between all people, neighbors and international strangers alike. The mutual understanding between conflicting parties would be easy to achieve. People wouldn’t have such a hard time achieving it.
    But, the kernel-point of Kantian thought, I would stress, is the spiritual power of Western civilization that resides in the principle, affirmed by Plato (Rep. X, 595bc) and by Aristotle (Etica Nicomachea, I, 4, 1096a), that all men naturally search for truth, that all men feel a sort of pathos for truth and science. The European science is founded on the known principles of criticism and subsequent growth of knowledge; it is one and universal. The Kantian and European philosophy of science is consciously cosmopolitan, and cosmopolitan are its moral, its religion and its politics. Kant’s moral philosophy, Kant’s principles of right, inspired by European culture and religion as well as by the European intercultural ethic, can be extend to the universe as a whole. In sum, Europe invented cosmopolitanism.
    In the specific juridical sphere Kant, through the project For Perpetual Peace, proposed a schematic and pondered doctrine about a juridical global order, still now judged much more relevant than the famous Hegelian Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts. It is a surprise, though Kant wrote more than two centuries ago even now the pamphlet contains stimulating, vigorous and strong nourishment for thinking Europe.
    I shall not go into detail concerning the mentioned text, which is not always very clear despite its brevity. I simply would like, in the small space allotted here, to point out three or four concepts that seem to me very interesting if we look for understanding how Kant raised the issue of peace. A close reading of passages of Zum ewigen Frieden (Ein philosophischer Entwurf), Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, dated 1795, can be useful. From the preamble, written by the same Kant, we read:
    “Whether this satirical inscription on a Dutch inn keeper’s sign upon which a burial ground was painted had for its object mankind in general, or the rulers of states in particular, who are insatiable of war, or merely the philosophers who dream this sweet dream, it is not for us to decide. But one condition the author of this essay wishes to lay down. The practical politician assumes the attitude of looking down with great self-satisfaction on the political theorist as a pedant whose empty ideas in no way threaten the security of the state, in as much as the state must proceed on empirical principles; so the theorist is allowed to play his game without interference from the worldly-wise statesman. Such being his attitude, the practical politician-and this the condition I make-should at least act consistently in the case of a conflict and not suspect some danger to the state in the political theorist’s opinions which are ventured and publicly expressed without any ulterior purpose. By this clausula salvatoria the author desires formally and emphatically to deprecate herewith any malevolent interpretation which might be placed on his words”(Zum ewigen Frieden (Ein philosophischer Entwurf)1
    By means of subtle irony in this preamble, we might gloss, Kant wants to distinguish the role of philosopher from the role of practical politician, probably mindful of past famous stories on philosophers, the laughter of Thracian maid provoked by the falling of Thales into the well, the Callicles’irony which gives, with his barbs, the satirical picture of philosopher, or the imagine of the philosopher… as a man who dreams the sweet dream of perpetual peace.
    Reading the sketch Zum ewigen Frieden (Ein philosophischer Entwurf), today the reader feels as if he is looking at a movie with events and people of last century: wars, peaces, standing armies, the interference by force of one state on another. I’ll quote in short only the titles of the first two articles: 1) The First Definitive Article for Perpetual Peace The Civil Constitution of Every State Should Be Republican. 2) The Second definitive Article, The Law of Nations Shall be Founded on a Federation of Free States. Here is the core of the transcendental foundation of European federalism.
    The second supplement, which links up to the initial preamble, between the ironic and serious, but seriously defining the role of philosopher in the world, closes thus: “That kings should philosophize or philosophers become kings is not to be expected. Nor is it to be wished, since the possession of power inevitably corrupts the untrammeled judgment of reason. But kings or kinglike peoples which rule themselves under laws of equality should not suffer the class of philosophers to disappear or to be silent, but should let them speak openly. This is indispensable to the enlightenment of the business of government, and, since the class of philosophers is by nature incapable of plotting and lobbying, it is above suspicion of being made up of propagandists”. Kant doesn’t follow the Platonic proposal that the philosopher should be law-givers and legislators, the kings should philosophize or that philosophers should become kings, or that the philosopher would be the rulers or at last the adviser of the statesman. For this willingness as often as not many philosophers paid a dear prize. On this E. Husserl who in the Conference of 1935, at Prague, argued: “The persecution began from the beginning of philosophy. The men who devoted their lives to the ideas from then till now are banned from society”. As Husserl, Kant long before asked that at the very least the philosopher be assured the right of free speech, so that he can interpret the role of the officer of mankind.
    Leaving Kant’s text and without claiming to summarize in few lines Kantian thought I would emphasize that Zum ewigen Frieden (Ein philosophischer Entwurf) is built on a sort of triptych: Rights, Democracy, Peace. Although in few parts of the essay the weight of time is evident and the forceful influence of the historical contest is really unavoidable, we find surprising relevancy in the replies and in the very questions that Kant asks himself and us.
    By means of his project Kant intends to go forward the enlargement of what is called a national state and to realize a constitution for a larger geographical and international space. He moves toward an inner public right, a logic of social original compact that is the international rights (ius gentium) and human rights, the worldly citizenship (ius cosmopoliticum). In addition, I would like to recall that among the preliminary articles there are two important statements, actual today, the 3rd against standing arms and the 5th that every state has the right to reform itself (no external intervention). The terminological couple democracy/despotism, anarchy/rights on federal basis, ethic of convergence and mutual recognition of citizens correspond to the previous triptych.
    Kant knew he was heading, as philosopher, for the pathways of utopia, but he covered himself, from people of ill will or vulgar people, by his clausola salvatoria. Fit he knew that peace is very difficult to get at; he wrote that peace is not the natural state, but also he was sure that it is part of human nature. He posed the peace as a hope, as a regulative idea, a purpose towards which man must make a voyage. Towards the end of the Critique of Pure Reason, at Canon of Pure Reason, Kant reformulates the three central preoccupations of his philosophy (What can I know? What should I do? What can I hope for?). Here, very interesting are the second and the third question. Kant writes: “The second question is merely practical. As such, to be sure, it can belong to pure reason, but in that case is not transcendental, but moral, and thus cannot be in itself an object of critique. The third question ‘If I do what I should, what may I then hope?’ is simultaneously practical and theoretical, so that the practical leads like clue to a reply to the theoretical question and, in its highest form, the speculative question. For all hope concerns happiness, and with respect to the practical and the moral law it is the very same as what knowledge and the natural law is with regard to theoretical cognition of things’2.
    What can we, Newropeans, learn from Kant? That Europe developed along many centuries science, moral, right, that are all cosmopolitan values. In his philosophy of science, of moral, and of right Kant pondered the task, the real interests, the universally human opportunities, laying thus the foundations of a cosmopolitan Europe, a Europe that, well equipped for the globalization, is above all a Europe that meditates on its universal mission. E. Husserl wrote of a transcendental idea of Europe. Such idea dictates respecting the differences, idioms, minorities, singularities, also the universality of formal law, desire for translation, agreement and one voice opposition to racism, nationalism, and xenophobia. It demands tolerating and respecting all that is not placed under the authority of reason; that may have to do with faith, with different forms of faith; and finally, that may also concern thoughts, whether they are questioning or not. For these thoughts Europe may also try to remain faithful to the ideal of Enlightenment (Aufklarung, Illuminism), acknowledging its limits in order to work on the Enlightenment of our time, the time that is ours—today. Something like that Derrida wrote confessing his authentic Europeism at the end of his pamphlet The Other Heading: “I am European, I am no doubt a European intellectual, and I like to recall this, I like to recall this to myself, and why would I deny it? But, I am not, nor do I feel, European in every part, that is, European through and through. By which I mean, by which I wish to say, or must say: I do not want to be and must not be European through and through, European in every part. My cultural identity, that in the name of which I speak, is not only European, it is not identical to itself, and I am not “cultural” through and through, “cultural” in every part.”3 What follows such a position, neither Eurocentrist, nor anti-Eurocentrist, comes through the Derridean critical and continual interrogation about European identity, about what Europe imposes both as a conception and as a task of universality, a public and political space, an infinite task.
    What is, or would be the United States of Europe’s place in and relationship to the global society? Kant has given us the right reply, The Law of Nations Shall be Founded on a Federation of Free States (U.N., IMF, etc…) Today the world is so interconnected and interdependent that to say Europe, as restrict Continent or European Union, as a closed and towered fortress, is out of place. Hence the question, can Europe today assume a role in respect of the common challenges facing humanity as a whole, the challenges of the cosmos?
    With the crisis of the euro are we at the beginning of the end for the EU, a construction that started 50 years ago on the basis of an age-old utopia that now proves unable to fulfil its promises? What is in crisis, in my view, is not the idea of Europe, but the current project of Europe. Surely, the idea of Europe has been betrayed. And it falls to the Europeans to start again on radically new bases.
    Francesco Tampoia
    1) É. Balibar, Europe is a dead political project, forthcoming paper in Theory and Event, June issue journal –Johns Hopkins-University Press 2012
    2) J. Habermas, The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia, Article by J. Habermas in Media and Cultural Studies, edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner-Blackwell Publishing 2001.
    3) J. Habermas, Zur Verfassung Europas, Ein Essay, Edition suhrkamp, SV (On Europe’s Constitution), Berlin 2011.
    4) F. Tampoia, Philosophers and Europe: M. Heidegger, G. Gadamer, J. Derrida. Actas VII Congreso “Cultura Europea” Pamplona 2005
    5) F. Tampoia ,Voyage to Syracuse, Europe, or the infinite task. Ovimagazine, 2009.
    6) F. Tampoia, Europe: A postmodern model, Neuropean Magazine, 2009
    7) F. Tampoia, Book reviews: Philosophy in Review XXX (2010), Rodolphe Gasché Europe, or The Infinite Task: A Study of a Philosophical Concept. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 2009.
    8) I. Kant, Zum ewigen Frieden (Ein philosophischer Entwurf)1795
    9) I. Kant, Immanuel Kant, Kritique of Pure Reason, translated and edited by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, Cambridge University Press, 1998
    10) J. Derrida, The Other Heading- Reflections on Today’s Europe, Indiana University Press, 1992 p.82


    July 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

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