Research team

Center for European Philosophy

Expertise

Metaphysics: history of metaphysics (Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Hegel), history of the critique of metaphysics, debates about the end of metaphysics (Habermas), history of post-metaphysical thought, contemporary concepts of metaphysics. Emmanuel Kant: Kant's place in the history of (the critique of) metaphysics, Kant's moral philosophy and Kantian ethics, Kant's moral anthropology and Kantian moral anthropology, Kant's philosophy of religion, Kant's theory of evil, Kant's political philosophy, Kant's philosophy of history, Kant's theory of aesthetic judgment. History of philosophy: philosophy of the Enlightenment, German Idealism, Neokantianism, hermeneutics, critical theory, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, the heritage of Kant in contemporary philosophy. Hannah Arendt: Arendt's theory of politics, Arendt's theory of labor, work and action, Arendt's theory of thinking, willing and judging, Arendt's theory individual and political liberty, Arendt's concept of evil, Arendt's theory of history, the influence of Kant on Arendt. Ernst Cassirer: neokantianism, critical philosophy of culture, the Davoser debate between Cassirer and Heidegger. Philosophy of Culture: the culture of Enlightenment and contemporary culture, the rhetoric of Enlightenment in contemporary public debate. Political philosophy: political myths, (history of the concept of) political liberty, free speech and freedom of self-expression, liberalism, republicanism, citizenship, John Stuart Mill, Isaiah Berlin, Quinten Skinner, Phillip Pettit, Onora O'Neill.

Rewilding modern life. A genealogical assessment of a counter-culture. 01/11/2021 - 31/10/2023

Abstract

Rewilding has recently gained rapid popularity, becoming a buzzword in nature conservation, environmental philosophy and activism, as well as in subculture and new alternative circles aiming for a rewilding of human life. This type of rewilding seeks to reconnect humans with nature, and often manifests itself openly as a counter-culture of modernity. While rewilding has mostly drawn attention by scholars as an ecological practice and ideology, it has not been thoroughly studied as a (counter-)cultural movement and vision for modern life. This research proposal aims to fill that gap by assessing rewilding as a modern counter-culture. By means of a genealogical investigation, it seeks to uncover a common dynamic of modernity critique underneath the diverse manifestations of rewilding. Two traditions in particular are crucial in exposing this cultural-critical dynamic: views on the Dionysian in romantic literature and Nietzsche's philosophy, and the discourse of enchantment that developed in reaction to Weber's disenchantment theory. Detecting these critical legacies behind the emergence of rewilding allows for a profound assessment of the philosophical irations and implications of the rewilding vision in modernity. This assessment will not only consider the theoretical relevance of rewilding as a modern counter-culture, but also its practical potential for cultural transformation.

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Hannah Arendt and the politics of remembrance. A dialogue between Arendt and Memory Studies. 01/11/2020 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Hannah Arendt has become one of the most influential contemporary political philosophers. Her work is called upon today to inform debates on political freedom, civil disobedience and statelessness. It is therefore surprising that her voice is nearly absent in discussions on the important issue of memory politics. The insights that Arendt can bring to these discussions have not yet been recognised for two reasons. She never formulated a systematic philosophy of history and memory. And, secondly, there exists an unresolved tension in her reflections on these subjects. I aim, first, to articulate a comprehensive understanding of Arendt's concepts of remembrance and history and, secondly, to bring these insights to bear on contemporary discussions on memory politics. I will use the concepts and themes of memory studies to bring focus and structure to the fragmented and scattered reflections on history and remembrance in the work of Arendt. By confronting Arendt's views on history and memory with concepts such as individual and collective memory, collective identity and social frameworks, I aim to bring Arendt's theory of remembrance into focus and make it relevant for discussions on memory politics. My research project strives for a cross fertilization between Arendt and the field of memory studies: the conceptual framework of memory studies serves as a heuristic aid for articulating Arendt's theory of remembrance which in turn can shed new light on the politics of memory.

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The political meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation revisited: An Arendtian approach. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This project departs from the hypothesis that the difficulties and doubts all accounts on the political meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation get entangled in, go back to a moral interpretation of both terms, which neglects the crucial distinction between moral and political relationships. The central aim of the project is thus to develop a sheer political account on forgiveness and reconciliation, inspired by Hannah Arendt's conception of politics and her distinction between politics and morality. As is demonstrated by many critiques on Arendt's account, this explicit distinction between politics and morality is highly controversial. I intend to show however, that respecting the distinction may avoid many conceptual confusions and practical difficulties.

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The political meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation revisited: an Arendtian approach. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project departs from the hypothesis that the difficulties and doubts all accounts on the political meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation get entangled in, go back to a moral interpretation of both terms, which neglects the crucial distinction between moral and political relationships. The central aim of the project is thus to develop a sheer political account on forgiveness and reconciliation, inspired by Hannah Arendt's conception of politics and her distinction between politics and morality. As is demonstrated by many critiques on Arendt's account, this explicit distinction between politics and morality is highly controversial. I intend to show however, that respecting the distinction may avoid many conceptual confusions and practical difficulties.

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Where are we? Towards a phenomenological topology. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

Where are we? This is the main question that my research project wants to investigate and answer, through a phenomenological approach of the place and spatiality of man. Taking the phenomenologies of Husserl and especially Heidegger as its starting point, it aims at formulating a phenomenological topology that can offer an alternative for the scientific and objective treatment of space and place, since this perspective is not capable of grasping the essential charateristics of our spatiality and situatedness.

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Francqui Chair 2011-2012 Prof. René Boomkens. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

Proposed by the University, the Francqui Foundation each year awards two Francqui Chairs at the UAntwerp. These are intended to enable the invitation of a professor from another Belgian University or from abroad for a series of ten lessons. The Francqui Foundation pays the fee for these ten lessons directly to the holder of a Francqui Chair.

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Virtuality and repetition: towards a phenomenological ontology of virtual reality. 01/10/2010 - 12/08/2012

Abstract

The electronic mass media, omnipresent in our contemporary world, are characterized by transparency. They disappear, to make something else appear, for instance a football match or the artificial environment of a game. This project tries to describe these mediated (or virtual) realities phenomenologically, thereby trying to gain new insight into the relation between virtual and non-virtual reality.

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Where are we? Towards a phenomenological topology. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

Where are we? This is the main question that my research project wants to investigate and answer, through a phenomenological approach of the place and spatiality of man. Taking the phenomenologies of Husserl and especially Heidegger as its starting point, it aims at formulating a phenomenological topology that can offer an alternative for the scientific and objective treatment of space and place, since this perspective is not capable of grasping the essential charateristics of our spatiality and situatedness.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Virtuality and repetition: towards a phenomenological ontology of virtual reality. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

The electronic mass media, omnipresent in our contemporary world, are characterized by transparency. They disappear, to make something else appear, for instance a football match or the artificial environment of a game. This project tries to describe these mediated (or virtual) realities phenomenologically, thereby trying to gain new insight into the relation between virtual and non-virtual reality.

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Research team(s)

Being and Space, Authenticity and Place - Heidegger's 'Topological Turn'. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

This project aims at an understanding of Heidegger's 'topology', his thinking of spatiality and place. It focuses in particular on the 'Kehre' in Heidegger's thought in the early 30's, which will be interpreted as a turning to topology. Allthough the topological question is not absent in the philosophy of the early Heidegger, it is quite clear that the 'place of place', especially in Sein und Zeit, is highly problematic. The reason for this is not only the primacy of temporality, but also the absence of an understanding of authenticity that takes into account the importance of place. Thus, the 'topological turn' (right) after Sein und Zeit goes together with a shift in Heidegger's understanding of authenticity that implies the recognition of the importance of spatiality and place for a true 'being-there'.

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The relevance of Max Stirner's existentialism for the contemporary authenticity debate. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

This research project deals with the forgotten existentialism of Max Stirner (1806-1856). Its focus is twofold. First, the kinship between Stirners thought and that of atheistic existentialist philosophy is explored ¿ kinship that has been pointed out by a great number of Stirner critics, but has never been the subject of serious scientific endeavour. Secondly, the focus will be on the role Stirner's concept of 'der Einzige' can play in twentieth century (existentialist) debate concerning nihilism and authenticity.

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Der Einzige - Max Stirner's existentialism revisited. 01/07/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This research project deals with the forgotten existentialism of Max Stirner (1806-1856). Its focus is twofold. First, the kinship between Stirners thought and that of atheistic existentialist philosophy is explored ¿ kinship that has been pointed out by a great number of Stirner critics, but has never been the subject of serious scientific endeavour. Secondly, the focus will be on the role Stirner's concept of 'der Einzige' can play in twentieth century (existentialist) debate concerning nihilism and authenticity.

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Translation into Dutch of Immanuel Kant's Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft. 01/10/2003 - 31/12/2005

Abstract

The project aims at a scholarly translation into Dutch of Immanuel Kant's Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft, annotated and with a scholarly introduction. The translation will be published in autumn 2004.

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The end of metaphysics and post-metaphysical thought. The concept of metaphysics in post-Hegelian philosophy 01/01/2001 - 31/12/2004

Abstract

The proposed research project studies two motifs which play a very important role in contemporary philosophy and are inextricably bound up with one another. The first motif is 'the end of metaphysics' in post-Hegelian philosophies of the history of philosophy and philosophies of history in general. The second motif is the self-perception and self-definition of several important post-Hegelian philosophers or philosophical tendencies as post-metaphysical. The first motif contains the idea that metaphysics, as a way of thinking, is not the product of a permanent 'metaphysical need', but that it is a definite phase in the development of humanity, andt that this phase has come to an end, or has to come to an end. The second motif complements and modifies the first one. It contains the idea that metaphysical thinking, as the 'hard core' of Western philosophical tradition up to and including Hegel, is inextricably bound up with the use of several fundamental strategies of thought. These strategies have become irreversibly problematic, and therefore must be at any cost avoided by means of new forms of thought that replace metaphysics.

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