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SYLLABUS 

The discussion thread of this course is the assumption that the European construction failures have their roots in the ambiguity of the idea of Europe. So, in order to strengthen the European idea, it is assumed that this very idea of Europe has to be cleared by deconstruction. 

The premise to any success in the European construction not betraying the ideal of democracy, peace and hospitality - all virtues attached to the political ideal of Europe - is the deconstruction of the idea of Europe. So, the objective of the course is to go back up from some unsettled questions about the European idea to the idea of Europe that is to find in the writings of European philosophers, especially since Kant. 

A distinction is made between the European idea and the Idea of Europe. By European idea I mean the constructivist idea of the European polity that the European unification attempts to realize by the creation of common institutions and common policies. So, the European idea refers to the implementation of the "founding fathers'" project until the apparent failure of the European constitution. With the expression “idea of Europe” I mean the philosophical conceptions of Europe by European philosophers since Kant to Derrida through Valéry, Husserl, Patocka and many others. Philosophers thought Europe as apart from the rest of the world and of humanity, because of its intellectual achievement. They thought of a special connection between Europe and the reason: Europe is self-declared as the birth-place of philosophy, and by this way of science, but they also thought of a special connection between Europe and democracy. Philosophy, science and democracy are conceived as essentially European inventions. In other words, philosophy, science and democracy are supposed to fulfil the idea of Europe. And we have by there the definition of Europe in a simple equation: Europe = reason, logos. And from this idea they claimed for Europe and Europeans a special destiny and a special mission in regard of the world. That is called the destiny and mission of the universal. 

The objective of the course is to call this pretension into question and to appreciate the achievements of the European idea from the commitments rooted in the European self-image. 

COURSE CONTENTS 

  1. From the Crisis of the European Humanity to the European Construction 
  2. How many languages can Europe sustain? 
  3. Cool memories?
  4. How old is Europe? 
  5. Do we still need nations?
  6. Can a weak Europe have an effective foreign policy?
  7. Can hospitality be rationed?
  8. Globalization or Europeanization?

 

There is no special requisite in philosophy to attend this course.

GRADING SCHEME: An Essay of 10 pages, 1.5 spacing, margins: 2cm. Topic related to Europe. 


“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.” The ideas and doctrines shaping practical men’s mind according to Keynes in the preceding quote are the subject matter of this course. They deal with the order and meaning of social history, which is with men’s relation to the world and the hope of better living in our world, the quest for happiness in justice.

The objective of the course is to unveil, confront and discuss some of the ideas and doctrines embedded in the rhetoric of economics, in the abstract theories and systems economists like to dress their opinions and propositions. The purpose so is to re-appropriate subjects of discussion and opinions which must not be reserved for a science which too often claims monopoly on it. The side effect will also be to show the relativity of economic theories. The course is organized in a thematic way by confronting various perspectives, it does not concentrate on systematic contributions of authors and schools.

THEMES:

1. Economic Ideas, Worldly Philosophy and Economic Philosophy

2. Consumption and Happiness

3. Wealth and Scarcity

4. Labor and Production

5. Poverty and Misery

6. Economic Justice in Perspective