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By Denis Guénoun

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The notion of the common was once born within the lands we now name Europe, but it really is exactly the common that's Europe's undoing. All ecu politics is stuck in a rigidity: to claim a eu identification is to be open to multiplicity, yet this very openness might dissolve Europe as such. This publication displays on Europe and its altering barriers over the span of twenty centuries. a piece of philosophy, it constantly attracts on concrete occasions. From old Greece and Rome, to Christianity, to the Reformation, to the nationwide revolutions of the 20th century, what we this present day name 'Europe' has been a succession of tasks within the identify of ecclesia or neighborhood. Empire, Church, and ecu: all were built unlike an Oriental 'other.' The stakes of Europe, then, are as a lot metaphysical as political. Redefining a chain of key suggestions comparable to global, position, transportation, and the typical, this booklet sheds mild on Europe as strategy via attractive with the main major philosophical debates at the topic, together with the paintings of Marx, Husserl, Heidegger, Patocka, and Nancy.

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There is no assembly of the world. If (provisionally, and foreshadowing a later development) we allow ourselves to guess at, suspect, or scent the radical position of coming-to-be-in-common in the assembly,64 if we agree to this (to let a useful consequence of this appear), if the assembly reveals itself in this way (as coming-to-be-in-common), and if the world, for its part, cannot be assembled, it follows that: There is no being (in) common of the world—only its (re)presentation. (h4) Europe Crossways 29 There is an empire of the world, a government, a sovereignty of the world, and even politics (without assembly) of the world; but there is no being-assembled.

In these passages, as in the rest of Kant’s essay, the word “Europe” does not appear. From the quoted sentence “we shall discover a regular movement of progress through the civil constitution of our part of the world (which is probably destined to give laws to all other parts of the world),” we might plausibly assume that Kant had Europe in mind when he wrote these lines. He uses the term Welttheil, “part of the world,” however, and nothing in this implies continence or the continentality of Europe.

In a nation or in individual men and human groups of this nation”; and it will later become understandable why the use of the word “nation,” in the sense that we (modern Europeans) give it today, in the sense that we irrevocably cannot help but give it—why this word or concept is unsuited to designate the Greeks, and even less the Greeks as those bringing forth the universal, unless it is used as an anachronism that paralyzes thought by linking the object of thought with its reverse side and its retreat; and why this naming error ties in with an error of assignation regarding what is born.

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