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By Denis Guénoun

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The thought of the common used to be born within the lands we now name Europe, but it's exactly the common that's Europe's undoing. All eu politics is stuck in a pressure: to claim a eu identification is to be open to multiplicity, yet this very openness might dissolve Europe as such. This booklet displays on Europe and its altering limitations over the span of twenty centuries. a piece of philosophy, it continuously attracts on concrete occasions. From historic Greece and Rome, to Christianity, to the Reformation, to the nationwide revolutions of the 20th century, what we this day name 'Europe' has been a succession of initiatives within the identify of ecclesia or group. Empire, Church, and european: all were built not like an Oriental 'other.' The stakes of Europe, then, are as a lot metaphysical as political. Redefining a sequence of key strategies equivalent to international, position, transportation, and the typical, this ebook sheds mild on Europe as approach by way of enticing with the main major philosophical debates at the topic, together with the paintings of Marx, Husserl, Heidegger, Patocka, and Nancy.

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Asia” points to an identity that is already uncertain and unsettled. Herodotus prefers to believe that these two land areas bear the names of beings born there: genealogical names, autochthonous names, names of one’s native land (gaiēs apo patridos), true patronymics. As for Europe, on the other hand, one slips into namelessness or absurdity. One either knows nothing of that name and its provenance, or else—which in a way amounts to the same thing—the name derives from the Tyrian Europē. Now, this woman was first of all born in Tyre—therefore, at the time of the birth, the land of Europe had no name; second, Tyre is in Asia, therefore Europe is an Asian woman, and the name of Europe does not come from Europe properly speaking, as name-of-a-land-area; and third, Europe never came to Europe (to the “continent”), going only as far as Crete.

Moschus is specific: of these two women, “one had the guise of a stranger, the other of a lady of that land, and closer still she clung about her maiden, and kept saying how ‘she was her mother, and herself had nursed Europa’” (p. 189). The conflict opposes a stranger (xeinēs) to a native, who calls to mind the mother of Europē, representing her Asian filiation, her sheltering native land. , pulling along] the maiden” (p. 189). Europē did dream of an abduction, away from her native land, toward a foreign and unknown destination.

11 Europe’s continentality (its shape, its outline on the surface of the earth) is its return to itself, its backlash and failing. Having taken on this shape, Europe reconsiders the worldly globalizing movement that carries it, and rethinks (reproduces) it from its 10 Europe Crossways originating point, now pointed, inscribed at the heart of its continentality— starting at the point of departure. 12 * How is one to understand this before/after relation, as I have just developed it? There are two overlapping but distinct ways of doing so, tracing the first on an ideal plane and the second on a concrete one.

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