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

Stadiu proiect

The research carried out by ILEANA BORŢUN, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, in the reported period was conducted towards the fulfilment of the research objectives that she assumed at the beginning of the project (see stages 2.1., 2.2.; 3.2.; 5.1. of our project).

Regarding the activities related to the research and to the dissemination of its results, Ileana Borţun wrote and held three presentations at international conferences and two presentations at national conferences; wrote a paper in Romanian (published in 2016 by “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Press, Iaşi) and a paper in English (submitted in 2016 for publication in 2017 at Springer); and carried out research at the “Léon Robin” Centre for Research on Ancient Thought (Paris).

In the following, these eight activities will be presented in detail, in chronological order, together with the corresponding stages of our project:

(1) National presentation: Locul subiectivităţii în înţelegerea operei de artă: Heidegger vs Schapiro [The Place of Subjectivity in Understanding the Work of Art: Heidegger vs Schapiro], held on 21 November 2015, at the annual colloquium of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology, entitled “Estetica fenomenologică după centenar. Perspective istorice şi tendinţe actuale” [“Phenomenological Aesthetics after Centenary. Historical Perspectives and Current Tendencies”] – In memoriam Walter Biemel (1918-2015) — Philosophy Department (University of Bucharest), 21 November 2015.

(2) National publication (paper written in January 2016, starting from the text of the above-mentioned presentation; published in November 2016): Ileana Borţun, “Locul subiectivităţii în înţelegerea operei de artă: Heidegger vs. Schapiro” [“The Place of Subjectivity in Understanding the Work of Art: Heidegger vs. Schapiro”], in the volume: Mădălina Diaconu & Christian Ferencz-Flatz (eds.), Estetica fenomenologică după centenar. Perspective istorice şi tendinţe actuale [Phenomenological Aesthetics after Centenary. Historical Perspectives and Current Tendencies], “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Press, Iaşi, 2016, pp. 115-144.

— Activities (1) and (2) correspond to stage 2 of the project, namely to show that genuine thinking – as a form of dwelling par excellence – has an intrinsic ethical relevance, i.e. that thinking is in itself ethical, in the originary, pre-metaphysical sense of the word ethos, i.e. “abode, dwelling place”, mentioned by Heidegger in Letter on “Humanism”, where he characterizes the thought of being as “the originary ethics”, given that this thought thinks about man’s dwelling within the being’s relation to man’s essence. The elaboration of these two texts aimed at emphasizing Heidegger’s destruction of subjectivity (which is entailed by this dwelling) in relation to the creation and reception of the work of art (which deepens the destruction of the subject from Being and Time).

(3) International presentation: In Search of Heidegger’s “Common Sense”. The Political Relevance of Mitverstehen, held on 23 April 2016, at the 14th Annual Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology, entitled “Phenomenology and Beyond”, organized at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik — 21-23 April 2016.

— This activity corresponds to stage 3 of our project, namely to show that genuine thinking has an intrinsic political relevance, i.e. that thinking is in itself open to the human plurality, as a thinking of individuality within plurality. The argument that the existential Mitverstehen (from Being and Time) is a concept equivalent to Arendt’s notion of “common sense” had the role of showing that Dasein’s individualization analyzed by Heidegger does not entail the isolation from others, as Arendt considered.

(4) International publication (paper written in April–June 2016 and finalized in October 2016): Ileana Borţun, “Authenticity and Plurality. From Heidegger’s ‘Anyone’ to Arendt’s ‘Common Sense’ and Back Again”, to be published in 2017 in a collective volume on “Heidegger’s Anyone and Contemporary Social Theory” (edited by Hans Bernhard Schmid & Gerhard Thonhauser), submitted for publication to Springer’s “Studies in the Philosophy of Sociality” series (the volume is currently in the blind peer review process organized by Springer).

— This paper is a much developed and improved version of the presentation mentioned at (3), focusing more clearly on the argument aimed at by stage 3.2., by offering an argument in favour of the thesis that thinking – which appears in Being and Time as that hearing of the voice of one’s own conscience which is involved in reaching one’s authenticity – is actually indebted to human plurality and is, therefore, open to this plurality.

(5) International presentation: Imagining Oneself as Another. Imagination in Arendt and Heidegger, held on 27 April 2016, at the Research Seminar entitled “Imagination as an Act: Phenomenological Approaches” – the 10th edition of the annual research seminar organized by the Centre of Research Phénoménologies (Département de Philosophie, Université de Liège) — Liège, 25-29 April 2016.

— This presentation corresponds to stage 5.1., in virtue of its attempt to emphasize the essential role of imagination within the aesthetic and political judgment (in Arendt) and within the self-understanding (in Heidegger).

(6) International research carried out in the period 8 August – 8 September 2016, at Le Centre de Recherches sur la Pensée Antique „Léon Robin” (Paris), at the invitation of Professor Anca Vasiliu; there, Ileana Borţun researched the literature relevant for our project, with a special focus on the problem of the relation between imagination (phantasia) and action (especially in Aristotle), connected subsequently with the role of imagination within thinking/judging in Kant, Heidegger and Arendt (stage 5.1.).

(7) National presentation: Identitatea lărgită. Exercitarea facultăţii de judecare ca ospitalitate [Enlarged Identity. The Exercise of the Faculty of Judgement as Hospitality], held on 17 November 2016, at the annual colloquium of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology, entitled “Comunitate – identitate – diferenţă. Perspective fenomenologice” [“Community – Identity – Difference. Phenomenological Perspectives”], organised in collaboration with The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest and with The “Alexandru Dragomir” – Institute for Philosophy — Philosophy Department (University of Bucharest), 16-17 November 2016.

— This presentation corresponds to stage 5.1., by proposing an existential interpretation of Arendt’s theory of judging, as enrichment of one’s own identity through the welcoming of the other’s difference within the process of judging a concrete situation by taking into consideration the different perspectives of all those engaged in or affected by that situation.

(8) International presentation: The Existential Status of Friendship. A Phenomenological Perspective on Aristotle’s Philia, held on 26 November 2016, at the International Conference “2400 Aristotle”, organised by the Philosophy Department, University of Bucharest — Philosophy Department (UB), 25-26 November 2016.

— This presentation corresponds to stages 2.2. and 3.2., by connecting the determination of thinking as “friendship with oneself” with Aristotle’s account of friendship, interpreted existentially.

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