The Enchanted World: The World We Have Lost?

A study day organized by the Center for European Philosophy

When? Thursday 23 November 2017, 13:00-20:00

Where? University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, Room S.004, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerpen

Description and program

Classical theories of the disenchantment of the world as well as recent justifications for the idea of its re-enchantment operate on the assumption that the enchanted world is a world we have lost: a world considered to have vanished completely with the progressive unfolding of modern western civilization. This widespread assumption will serve as a vehicle for inquiry and reflection during this study day. First of all, it will be analyzed what is commonly understood by the concept of the enchanted world. Taking Balthasar Bekker’s The Enchanted World (1691) as a point of departure, different aspects of the original condition of enchantment will be explored and different interpretations of the enchanted world will be distinguished from each other. Second, attention will be drawn to influential theories of disenchantment (Weber, Gauchet, Taylor, Bilgrami) in order to define and examine what has generally been described as the major causes for the destruction of the enchanted world. Finally, while taking into account different possible interpretations of the original condition of enchantment, it will be investigated and discussed to what extent the progressive unfolding of modern western civilization can be understood as the utter destruction of a previously enchanted world, or should rather be viewed as a piecemeal, ambivalent or even ineffective emancipation from it.

13:00 Part I: The Enchanted World (lecture and reading seminar)

15:00 Part II: The World We Have Lost (lecture and reading seminar)

17:00 Soup & sandwich dinner

18:00 Part III: The World We Have Lost? (workshop and discussion)

Practical information

No prior reading or preparation is required. All the study material will be provided in printed and electronic form at the start of the study day.

Participation fee: €20 (course material and catering included), to be paid in cash on site.

Registration: please write an e-mail to confirm your participation before Monday 20th November to

Course coordinators: Herbert De Vriese and Guy Vanheeswijck (University of Antwerp)

This study day is part of series of lectures and study days devoted to a critical analysis of philosophical discourse on re-enchantment. For more information, follow this link.