Guest lecture of Michael Gubser on The Far Reaches
The Polish Phenomenological Association
in cooperation with
the Polish Academy of Sciences
invites to the seminar on the „Perspective of Contemporary Phenomenology”
with Michael Gubser on:
the book The Far Reaches. Phenomenology, Ethics, and Social Renewal in Central Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press 2014)
September 13 (Tuesday), 2016 at 4:00 pm
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Staszic Palace, Nowy Świat 72, room 154.
The Far Reaches tells the history of social and ethical thought in the phenomenological movement and argues that phenomenology was one of the prominent social philosophies of the twentieth century. The book makes two main claims: (1) that from its birth phenomenology engaged with ethical and social questions as central to its concerns; and (2) that these engagements had significant political and social clout, especially in late communist Eastern Europe. The philosophical tradition not only produced systematic reflection on common moral concerns such as distinguishing right from wrong and explaining the nature of values; it also called on philosophy to renew European societies facing the crises of the twentieth century, from World War I and interwar totalitarianism to postwar communist dictatorships.
The Far Reaches focuses on Central Europe, moving from the German and Austrian birth of phenomenology to postwar Czechoslovakia and Poland, where phenomenology’s social and ethical dividends came to the fore. East European phenomenologists help us to challenge two common charges against the philosophy. The first, made for example by Theodor Adorno, dismisses phenomenology as solely epistemological, even solipsistic. The second contends that as a result of this aloofness, phenomenology was unable to resist the radical politics of being and authenticity embodied in Nazism. Because of its worldly dereliction, in other words, phenomenology led to either meek apoliticism or, worse, the uncritical acceptance of raw power. Patočka and Wojtyła show the philosophy in a very different light. That phenomenology could have such a tremendous impact on the dissident movements of Eastern Europe is a profound challenge to prevailing presentations of it as an abstract epistemological exercise. The foundations of this social concern were there from the philosophy’s start.
More info here.