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Europe : an idea without meaning - Questions of politics, history, and philosophy in Georg Simmel, Jan Patočka, and Jacques Derrida

Vol.1, N0.2, December 2005
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Alain DENEAULT (Université de Montréal)

According to German philosopher Georg Simmel, Europe becomes a category of thought when, in cases of crisis, intellectuals assign it a completely different historical context, cultivate this idea while hoping it to be realizable under favorable circumstances. Developed during the First World War, this thinking has much in common with positions taken later on by the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka and by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Patočka proposes Europe as an inexhaustible manifestation of new apparitions. Its effects of stability are anchored in the Western definition of soul. In the promises of a "globalization-critical" thought, Derrida sees a way to build a new, radical Europe to come.