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Flourishing, Care for the soul, and Solidarity

One cannot escape today the refrain that Europe is in crisis: economic, social, political, and environmental. Yet there is no consensus on what defines this crisis. Even the meaning of the subject, “Europe”, is a matter of contention. It would seem that there is a neglected existential-political dimension of the crisis concerning Europe’s identity, task, role in the world, and indeed whether it even exists in the relevant sense. This editorial partnership, which follows a conference held in May 2014, aims to investigate the idea of Europe as a philosophical concept and project.

As part of the second phase of "Europe, The Very Idea" focusing on the ideas of flourishing, solidarity and care for the soul, here one of our hosts, Darian Meacham, asks political philosopher Dagmar Wilhelm (UWE, Bristol), just what is solidarity in the context of the European project, what does it do, and how do we get it?



Jürgen Habermas: our European Hegel?

What is left out in Habermas’s deliberations on Europe is any possibility for political, social or cultural contingencies; the assumption is that things simply get better if not all but then at least most of the time.

Doctors have always been over-worked, but that's not what's causing the recruitment crisis

The greatest reward of being a doctor - relating to patients as fellow complicated human beings - has been lost amidst the growth of tick-box, corporatised management that treats all doctors as if they were 'duffers'.

Breaching the long litany of unlesses: a response to Simon Glendinning’s ‘Saving Europe from salvation'

The risk to Europe is a perpetuation of crisis by implacable erosion, and with this the abdication of political institutions from protecting the interests of citizens that they are responsible for and to.

Philosophy as a model of active and responsible life

The task of philosophy then becomes an opportunity to dialogue. We have to risk being in search of what joins us in our dissimilarity. 

Political dissidence as care for the soul: reflections on Jan Patočka

In the experience and activity of political dissidence, care for the soul realized itself through denying the falsehoods imposed by the authorities and exalting truth above any imposed scheme.

Charter 77 and the “solidarity of the shaken”

The individual should learn to expose himself to the risk of giving up his egoistic prerogatives, in order to build a new form of community.

Making policy out of mindfulness

Does the attempt to rationalize mindfulness and make a tool for better performance and efficiency undermine its core concept?      

On Solidarity

The idea of solidarity has its roots in the history of the workers’ movement, and as this is usually excluded from conventional tales of human endeavour, it is seldom understood. 

Solidarity and Flourishing – a short exchange

Dagmar Wilhelm--see here her video conversation on solidarity with Darian Meacham-- has been consulting her students’ views on the same subject.

Heretical Europe: Jan Patočka as symbol of dissident contingency

Post-Europe, for Patočka, must be acutely aware of its own contingency even when it proclaims (above all when it proclaims) the sanctity of universal principles.

Europe in a labyrinth and the material power of ideas

The Greek government has the mandate to revive the idea of solidarity and social justice, but also the idea of the economy itself.

The crisis of means without ends: two forms of rationality in the foundations of Europe

Patočka calls for a renewed effort in Europe today to reestablish some kind of equilibrium between “the rationality of means” and “the rationality of ends”.

Money that flourishes

We need to embrace and create new money systems that focus on enabling us to achieve our goals and maximize our potential.

Athens, a flourishing polis

Amid the crisis, the Athens city council won the Bloomberg Philanthropy sustainable development and EFTA solidarity awards. 

Introducing three old ideas for a new Europe: flourishing, solidarity and care for the soul

These ideas--care for the soul, flourishing, solidarity--are ideas that according to Jan Patočka could be useful for reinterpreting our political space, in the face of a crisis which is shattering it.

The poetry in the pity

War remembrance is one of the oldest and most enduring forms of art in the western tradition. Our literary culture begins with the legacy of how to remember and commemorate a war to end all wars.

Saving Europe from salvation

National competences are not something one can waive away with a magic wand and reassign to international institutions. Limited sovereignty all round is the road we must travel.

Life after Europe: the Post-Europe Project

The joint editors of Europe – the very idea introduce the next stage of their project – a discussion inspired by the Czech philosopher and political dissident Jan Patočka. An invitation to discussion.

Kojève’s idea of the end of history: a philosophical key to the European economic crisis

What I would like to argue is that this historical and existential process retraced by Kojève helps to clarify the origin and the genesis of the present, European and global, supremacy of economic processes over all other fields of human activity. 

Nomads and migrants: Deleuze, Braidotti and the European Union in 2014

If European society at large is applying an exclusionary logic to certain groups, it is only encouraging the retention and expansion of a sedentary identity formation in these groups. A rise in reactionary politics should come as no surprise.

The brave struggle: an insight into Europe from its future

We should start understanding Europe not as an idea but rather as a clash of ideas; as a community whose ground is not an exclusionary identity, but rather a comprehensive solidarity. 

Defending political autonomy – or: Habermas on Europe

Habermas likes to regard 'national solidarity' based on 'national identity' as a stage in the development of solidarity. It is just a step towards the mutual beneficence and trust that is based, not on imagined histories, but on actual mutual participation in political deliberation and decision-making.

Socratic citizenship in twenty-first century Europe

Here we have the formulation of the political aspect of ‘care for the soul’, the extension of this striving for truth into the realm of politics. This, according to Patočka, is the Greek heritage of Europe.

Europe needs some old ideas

If Europe is not for something then it is good for nothing. I propose that we think of Europe as being for flourishing.

Jacques Derrida and the ‘Europe of hope’

This affirmation of Europe is not a simple one; it is preceded by the choice to inherit the discourses of Europe with its tensions, contradictions and aporia.

What is the meaning of Europe? - Michael Zantovsky launches a debate

As part of Europe, the very idea: exploring Europe as a philosophical concept and project, a conference that took place in Bristol on May 9 - 10, Michael Žantovský, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Kingdom gave the keynote lecture, on “What is the Meaning Of Europe?”. (Video, 50 mins).

From the idea of Europe to a Europe of ideas

Contrary to the maxim popularised by political scientists that there is no political community without a political identity, what Europe most needs is a political community without identity. A reply to Etienne Balibar.

Europe: a concrete idea

The rise of the far-right parties and more generally of the anti-European or euro-sceptic ones, such as the British UKIP, is a clear sign that moderate solutions to the current crisis are not enough any more. A reply to Etienne Balibar.

Europeans are getting poorer, do you care?

Is the nation-state still the most viable form of political community or have the pressures of globalization reduced its possibility to maintain the well-being of its citizens in such a manner that we should look to a larger community of reciprocal solidarity, namely Europe?

Out of the interregnum

The old national order is dead, but the new post-national union of states, whether called a federation or not, is unable to take shape. French philosopher Etienne Balibar calls for European action.

The European Emperor has no clothes

Severe austerity measures cause malnutrition, homelessness and suicides across southern Europe. European institutions that apparently fail to protect their citizens from harm lose their legitimacy. The pro-European left should defend the values, not the institutions, of Europe and the quality of life of all its inhabitants

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