Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

About Europe: Philosophical Hypotheses

Academic journal article Review of Contemporary Philosophy

About Europe: Philosophical Hypotheses

Article excerpt

BOOK REVIEWS About Europe: Philosophical Hypotheses Denis Guénoun (Paris Sorbonne University) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013, 324 pp. ISBN 978-0-8047-7385-0

Guénoun holds that the idea of Europe can only be the universal, being a negation of all European "particularity" (

We may sum up by saying that Europe can call upon its transnationalism, to think of itself as being in an advanced stage of its own becominguniversal. Guénoun claims that Europe is on a frontier between civilizations, and one of the most inventive construction sites of a new relation to the universal (it is possible to consider oneself as part of the community of men without limits and without any reserves). The deep value of European culture may lie in the fact that Europe has been a place that constructed the unreasonable dream of a humanity open to all, and of a radical way of being in common. The desire animating Europe, to expand and share, has combined with the inclination to endow its natives with the identity of privileged possessors of the universal and superior specialists of the general. Europe laid claim to the ideas of empire or Christendom and annexed them to its heritage, and comes on the scene at the intersection of the desire for universality and the concern for its repatriation. "Return" as "return to" is necessarily a return to self. Reverting to self is the essence of returning. …

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