Histcon.se Time, Memory and Representation Tid, Minne, Representation

A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness

Ett mångdisciplinärt forskningsprogram om historiemedvetandets förvandlingar

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Colloque international: La fin du monde / The End of the World

Published on 7 October, 2015

Institut Finlandais de Paris 25-27 September 2015

In the mid-20th century, there were heated debates about the end, notably as end of history and as end of the world. At the
21st century these debates have lost much of their signification, and it would seem that the end of the "end of history" rather
reveals the world as such, without transcendent sense and direction, maybe a world which, quite simply, is-happening (as
Marcia would say). On the other hand, if the end of (transcendent, eschatological, utopical) ends has made philosophers look
more intensely at this world – at this world as the only place of making and unmaking of sense – the world discovered by this
look is far from being as familiar, ordinary and homely as might have been expected. Often it has seemed that the world itself is
coming to an end, or at least it is becoming increasingly unhomely and unworldly.
Of course, such an impression may result from practical concerns. The world comes to an end when it is not a
"homeworld" anymore, for instance because it tolerates and generates too much social alienation and exclusion or too much
ecological and economical degradation (but how much is "too much"?) In front of such (fundamentally political) concerns, some
philosophers have sought to measure the role of the feeling of the "end of the world" : are we to reject is as hysterical
catastrophism, or are we on the contrary to use it as a salutary way of putting existing social, political and even scientific
structures in question ?
Behind such practical concerns, the "end of the world" opens up a philosophical question concerning the very notion of
the world, which is a fundamental element of all existential, phenomenological and hermeneutical philosophy. Is the "end of the
world" for us rather "somebody's" death (the end of "being-in-the-world") or the extinction of many or of all (the end of the
world itself)? Is the erosion of the "world" just an ontic phenomenon that does not affect the notion of the world as a
fundamental feature of all existential-ontological inquiry ? Or is there on the contrary an inherent negativity in the very notion
of the world which is only now really becoming a question ? Can the world really "end" ? What would it mean ? Or should one
rather speak about an "unworlding" of the world in order to bring about an interrogation or maybe even a deconstruction of the
notion of the world?

Description by the organizers:

In the mid-20th century, there were heated debates about the end, notably as end of history and as end of the world. At the21st century these debates have lost much of their signification, and it would seem that the end of the "end of history" ratherreveals the world as such, without transcendent sense and direction, maybe a world which, quite simply, is-happening (asMarcia would say). On the other hand, if the end of (transcendent, eschatological, utopical) ends has made philosophers lookmore intensely at this world – at this world as the only place of making and unmaking of sense – the world discovered by thislook is far from being as familiar, ordinary and homely as might have been expected. Often it has seemed that the world itself iscoming to an end, or at least it is becoming increasingly unhomely and unworldly.

Of course, such an impression may result from practical concerns. The world comes to an end when it is not a"homeworld" anymore, for instance because it tolerates and generates too much social alienation and exclusion or too muchecological and economical degradation (but how much is "too much"?) In front of such (fundamentally political) concerns, somephilosophers have sought to measure the role of the feeling of the "end of the world" : are we to reject is as hystericalcatastrophism, or are we on the contrary to use it as a salutary way of putting existing social, political and even scientificstructures in question?

Behind such practical concerns, the "end of the world" opens up a philosophical question concerning the very notion ofthe world, which is a fundamental element of all existential, phenomenological and hermeneutical philosophy. Is the "end of theworld" for us rather "somebody's" death (the end of "being-in-the-world") or the extinction of many or of all (the end of theworld itself)? Is the erosion of the "world" just an ontic phenomenon that does not affect the notion of the world as afundamental feature of all existential-ontological inquiry ? Or is there on the contrary an inherent negativity in the very notionof the world which is only now really becoming a question ? Can the world really "end" ? What would it mean ? Or should onerather speak about an "unworlding" of the world in order to bring about an interrogation or maybe even a deconstruction of thenotion of the world?

Organizers:

Susanna Lindberg (Université Paris Ouest, équipe de recherche HARp) and Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback (Södertörn University)

Funding provided by Riksbankens jubileumsfond.

Download full program here (.pdf).

Produced by MarsApril