Measure and Limit: Thinking of Europe at the Meridian

    • EUPE_BRUGES_2019
    • Presentation speakers
      • Sandro Gorgone, Department of Philosophy , University of Messina, Italy


    The aim of this paper is to propose the thesis that the philosophical idea of Europe includes in itself the concepts of Measure and Limit, which represent the relationship to the ‘otherness’, as is symbolically shown by the permeability of the Mediterranean sea and earth. According to Federico Chabod, the concept of Europe took shape by contrasting itself with the not-European elements; this contraposition is emblematically represented by the original opposition between Greece and Asia, freedom and despotism, sea and earth. The sea, which is connected by Hegel to the mobility and the restlessness of the European Spirit, is both the cause of the promethean will to overcome ones limit, which is what metaphysically pushes the development of modern science and technology, and the typical measure of the Mediterranean landscape. Massimo Cacciari used the metaphor of ‘archipelago’ to describe the uncertain condition of Europe between sea and earth. The sea in its oceanic dimensions symbolically represents the complete loss of measure and roots, the infinite journey of research beyond all limits (as is Dante’s Odysseus exodus), the unchained power of technique (Carl Schmitt). The Mediterranean sea, instead, can indicate a meridian sense of limit (as shows the ‘meridian thought’ of Albert Camus): it doesn’t define Europe from the outside, as a geographical and geopolitical boundary, but outlines a multiplicity of inner boundaries. Europeans should dwell in this equilibrium of sea and earth, which is a threshold where their differences affect each other and they reciprocally experience their limits. The main philosophical and political responsibility of Europe doesn’t consist of the integration of its oceanic (Nordic) and Mediterranean (Southern) countries, but of measuring its differences and building bridges between the islands of its archipelago.