The Sin of Indifference: Europe and the Ancient Greece

    • Ghent October 2019
    • Presentation speakers
      • Firat M. Haciahmetoglu, Husserl-Archives: Center for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium


    This paper consists of two parts. In the first part, I will question the entrenched presuppositions behind the idea of Ancient Greece as the cradle of European civilization. On this account, it is widely argued that the defining and commencing difference of Europe is the invention of a theoretical, that is, a detached and disinterested, attitude whereby the totality of “the world” was, for the very first time in “history”, has been discovered and thematized. This singular and unprecedented discovery, so it is further argued, consisted in a radical questioning which demanded of the “man” to take nothing for granted. Elaborating on this trite account, taken as the dogmatic understanding of what Europe is, I will try to unearth a myriad of experiences, ideas, and assumptions hidden in the seemingly unsophisticated deployment of the concepts “world”, “history” and “man”. By problematising these concepts, my ultimate aim is to show that the aforementioned understanding of Europe is not so much reflecting “the reality” as such, as it provides us with a particular response emerged in the course of the modernity in central Europe in order, precisely, to cope with the global structural changes that had been disordering the continent in a hauntingly uneven way. In this way, the invention of the so-called “old golden ages” could be put in a global historical context and made sense without conflating a contingent outcome as a methodological premise. Based on the investigation conducted in the first part, the second part seeks to understand and give an explanation to the questions of why and how the dogmatic account of what Europe is has captured — and it still captures — the Europeans both emotionally and conceptually.