Founded in 2007, the Center for European Philosophy (previous Center for Philosophy of Culture) originates from the fusion of three former research groups: the Center for Metaphysics and Culture, the Center for Philosophy of Religion, and the Center for Philosophy of Art & Literature. Its main research interest is a philosophical reflection on the relation between reason and culture in modern and contemporary society. Philosophy is involved in the transformation processes of modernity: it not only reflects on the transformation processes of modern culture in order to elucidate their philosophical presuppositions, but it has been transformed itself in the wake of the vicissitudes of modern culture and society. The common research aim is therefore not only to contribute to the reflection on the philosophical presuppositions of modern culture and its transformations, but also to clarify the role and relevance of modern culture for the various transformations of philosophy itself. With these common aims, the Center intends to develop its research in the field of philosophy of culture which has been considered as a distinct discipline of philosophy since the end of the 19th century.
In accordance with its origins, the Center's research interest is being elaborated within a threefold perspective. A first perspective is engaged with criticism of metaphysics and post metaphysical thought. It focuses on the gradual disappearance of metaphysics and its reform(ulation)s in western culture. In particular it considers the relation between the rise and specific character of modern culture and 'the end of metaphysics'. A second perspective concerns criticism of religion and secularization. From the viewpoint of philosophy of religion, the research of the Center concentrates on the (diminishing) role of Christianity in western culture, in particular on the relation between the rise and specific character of modernity and the process of secularization. And thirdly, from the perspective of philosophy of art and literature, the research of the Center focuses on criticism of representation, particularly in relation to the rise of modernism which has led to a crisis of classical representation. Art is even paradigmatic for this crisis, since the decay of the aesthetic ideal of imitation shows the limits of philosophical rationality. This area of tension between reason and (modernist) art is being examined in literature and visual arts.
The center has a distinctive profile not only in terms of its common themes, but also regarding its approach. This approach implies a historical and multidisciplinary point of view and a predominant affiliation to the continental tradition of philosophy. In line with this orientation, the Center's research interests also cover central issues in Classical Philosophy, German and British idealism, Phenomenology, Hermeneutics and Ontology.