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Balkan Journal of Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 2, 2016

Golfo Maggini
Pages 123-134

Martin Heidegger and Jan Patočka
Two Conflicting Paradigms on a Phenomenological Genealogy of Europe

This paper explores two different, even opposite, genealogies of Europe in contemporary phenomenology by Martin Heidegger and Jan Patočka. On the one hand, the paper focuses upon Heidegger’s 1936 lecture on “Europe and German Philosophy”, which is one of his lesser-known texts. In light of this reading, the paper examines a series of key commentaries by Éliane Escoubas, Franco Volpi, Franco Chiereghin, and Reiner Schürmann. On the other hand, the later Jan Patočka’s discourse on Europe lies upon utterly different hermeneutic premisses, construing a new humanism and renewing the metaphysical tradition in the form of negative Platonism. It concludes by arguing that the major differences between Heidegger’s and Patočka’s phenomenological genealogies of Europe are, first, their different stances toward Western metaphysics and humanism, and, second, their divergent understandings of historical lifeworlds.

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