2015-2017: The Ethico-Political Relevance of Thinking. An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Relation Between Thinking and Action

Abstract

In this project we intend to discuss the relationship thinking–action from a perspective combining methods and approaches pertaining to several philosophical disciplines (the main method will be the phenomenological-hermeneutical one). Our goal is to explain the ethico-political relevance that thinking has for action in a more originary way than through the traditional dichotomy theory–practice (which, from Plato onwards, favours contemplation, theoria, to the detriment of praxis). Given that an ethical action and an authentic political one always engage others, our goal is to interpret the relation of thinking to action otherwise than as a theoretical guidance of interaction, i.e. a guidance coming from the outside of the sphere of human interactions. We will start from the Heideggerian interpretation of thinking – for Heidegger offers the most radical critique of the dichotomy theory–practice – and from Arendt’s interpretation of action, which will help us to develop Heidegger’s critique, which does not thematize enough the individuality in the context of human plurality and does not interpret action as inter-action. Our project opposes those approaches which (under the influence of Lévinas, Habermas or Arendt) argue that Heidegger’s philosophy would be anti-ethical and anti-democratic: with the help of contributions from authors such as Ricoeur, Derrida, Nancy and Raffoul, we will show that it can be a starting point for thinking and acting ethically and politically.