On Italy’s Liberation Day

24/04/2017


Habent sua fata libelli: Paul Ricoeur and Emmanuel Macron

24/04/2017

Paul Ricoeur, “Memory, History, Forgetting,” Translated by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer, The University of Chiacgo Press, 2004, “Preface,” p. XVII): “… and finally, Emmanuel Macron to whom I am indebted for a pertinent critique of the writing and the elaboration of the critical apparatus of the work.” Elaboration of the critical apparatus! This is quite an acknowledgement! Paul Ricoeur was one of the most penetrating, most profound thinkers of our times. Such a recognition for Macron is for me a ,ajor, idelible recommendation for a critical intellectual. In the times of moral idiots and cultural barbarians like Trump, Putin, and Orban, I don’t need to justufy my support for Macron…

 

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Aimez-vous Brahms?

24/04/2017

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How democracies perish…

24/04/2017

How democracies perish: Never was the title of Jean-François Revel’s 1983 book more appropriate than in these dark times for liberal values. Far from living the end of history, nonchalantly predicted by a a bright Straussian political thinker in 1989, we witness the vindictive comeback of reactionary (I measure my terms) forces and ideas belonging to the age of tyranny (the title of Elie Halévy’s famous lecture in the 1930s). This is is Havel post-communist nightmare coming true. And all this debacle is happening under Western eyes…

 

Comment les démocraties finissent par Revel

 

http://hungarianfreepress.com/2017/04/24/ignatieffs-last-stand-in-budapest/


History, Memory, Forgetting: Emmanuel Macron and Paul Ricoeur

24/04/2017

He was Paul Ricoeur’s editorial assistant: This is where Emmanuel Macron comes from. He’s a member of the editorial board of the influential monthly “Esprit”, friends with Olivier Mongin, the author of an important book on the invention of the democratic intellectual. Some try to diminish the link to Ricouer. Yet, Macron insists on this intellelectual debt and profound affinity.

“J’ai beaucoup appris auprès de lui. A lire la philosophie. Parce que c’est un hasard de la vie, presque un malentendu. C’est François Dosse, qui a été son biographe, qui était historien, qui a été un de mes professeurs, qui m’a conduit jusqu’à lui parce que Ricoeur cherchait quelqu’un pour faire ses archives. Donc c’était vraiment une tâche très manuelle, très ancillaire. Et nous nous sommes rencontrés, et nous ne nous sommes plus quittés.”

In 2004, Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) received the Kluge Prize from the Library of Congress. It is one of the most prestigious intellectual awards in the world. It is meant to include areas in the humanities not covered by the Nobel Prizes (philosophy, theology, history, etc) On that occasion, the distinguished Russia scholar and then Librarian of Congres, James Billington, wrote: “Paul Ricoeur is a philosopher who draws on the entire tradition of western philosophy to explore and explain common problems: What is a self? How is memory used and abused? What is the nature of responsibility? He is a constant questioner – always pressing to understand the nature and limits of what constitutes our humanity.”

In 1945 Ricoeur began his teaching career at the international Protestant College Cevenol (where he met American Quakers, who invited him to Haverford College 10 years later) and moved in 1948 to the University of Strasbourg. In 1956 he was appointed to the chair of general philosophy at the Sorbonne. For the next decade Ricoeur wrote continuously as a professional philosopher. He was also an activist, both against the French war in Algeria and as a reformer of the French university system. In 1967 he left the Sorbonne to assume the deanship of the new experimental university at Nanterre. Student and community disruption and unrest forced him to resign in 1969. He then taught for two years at Louvain in Belgium before moving to the United States, first to Yale and then to the University of Chicago. There he succeeded Paul Tillich as the John Nuveen Chair in the Divinity School and was jointly appointed to the Department of Philosophy and the Committee on Social Thought.

https://www.franceculture.fr/…/aux-sources-des-idees-demman…

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Language and silence

24/04/2017

Nobility of spirit: We met in Amsterdam and talked about Paul Celan, Hannah Arendt, Koestler, Cioran, Fondane, metaphysics, revolutions, and totalitarian delusions. I found him immensely approachable. It was in 2011 or 2012 at a conference organized by Rob Riemen, the president of Nexus Institute. Adam Zagajewski, Fania Oz, Moshe Idel, Krystian Zimerman, Michael Ignatieff, Avishai Margalit were there. He is one of the very few survivors of the European Republic of Letters. Many happy returns, George Steiner!

“Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.” (George Steiner, born April 23, 1929)

 

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The rise of the radical center

23/04/2017

I agree with Anne Applebaum: The old ideological polarities are definitely obsolete, exhausted, hackneyed, the French elections indicate the birth of the radical center. I would add that they also signal to the Kremlin thugs that they cannot count forever on “useful idiots”. Both radical extremes seem politically and intellectually impotent confronted with the rise of the radical center. And this is good news, indeed…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/04/23/frances-election-reveals-a-new-political-divide/?utm_term=.0e3c8ddad84e