Heidegger in the East-Central Europe

International Conference

18-20 September 2020, Staszic Palace, Warsaw, Nowy Świat 72.

Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences) would like to invite to a conference “Heidegger in the East- Central Europe”. The subject matter of the conference is the presence of Martin Heidegger’s thought in the culture of the countries of East-Central Europe. Restricting the philosophical problematic to geopolitical boundaries results from the common – in contradistinction to other European countries – experience which befell particular nations and societies inhabiting the area lying in the East of Europe.

The purpose of the conference is to summarize and describe the legacy of Eastern European contacts with Heidegger’s thought. The conference is supposed to answer the following questions: what are the main directions of the reception of his philosophy in East- Central Europe? Is there any characteristic hint of this reception which would allow us to speak of the emergence of a particular intellectual formation?

In the cultures of the countries of East-Central Europe the personage and works of Martin Heidegger are treated particularly ambivalently. On the one hand, his influence on the entirety of this culture is not to be overrated and it reaches far beyond professional philosophy; his works got oftentimes critically elaborated and translated and his ideas were developed by the most outstanding intellectuals the majority of whom comprised the democratic opposition under socialism, and who, after the political transformation, became a part of the new establishment. On the other hand, from the very beginning, the reception of his philosophy was in East-Central

European humanities rather delayed and superficial and also somehow situated on the fringes of Western debates on the subject. Due to his peculiar style and political involvement, Heidegger earned many declared enemies.

While taking a closer look at the history of Eastern-European reception of Heidegger’s philosophy, one can safely say that the period of socialism is the time of its forced absence, which was only to be followed by its tediously making way into philosophical culture, which was concluded – at a time of the political transformation – with the sheer explosion of its translations and monographic studies thereupon. The nineties of XX century as well as the first decade of XXI century witnessed an increased interest in Heidegger, whose thought was associated both with the foundations as well as with the most recent trends of the entire contemporary humanities.

It seems that what belongs to a class of the most important threads related to the reception of Heidegger in the countries of the Eastern bloc are what follows: the issue of language and translation, the general diagnosis of culture and the understanding of history, the way of comprehending human existence, theological references of thinking about Being as well as political significance of the philosophy from the realm of (post)metaphysics.

If one is warranted in speaking of its peculiarities, what does it involve when compared against the background of the reception of Heidegger’s philosophy in Western countries (France, Germany, Great Britain and USA)? How do the circles of Heideggerians look like in particular countries? Are they homogeneous; or rather, quite the contrary – highly diversified? Can we speak of the existence of the Heideggerian left or right wings? By the same token, are there Heideggerian reformers and orthodox adherents? What does the problem of translating Heidegger’s works into Slavic languages, or into Hungarian and Romanian consist in etc.? What sort of relation holds between Heidegger’s philosophy and the most burgeoning philosophies in the Eastern bloc? And what about the issue of philosophico-political assessment of Heidegger’s political involvement, which can be witnessed in – among others – “Black Notebooks”? Does it have a bearing on current politics, and if so – then of what kind?

Furthermore, what is it in the way of thinking practiced by Heidegger that makes him so interesting to our own philosophizing, geographically and culturally distant from his? Why our local traditions do not suffice and need to be complemented by the remote thinker from Schwarzwald? Is it possible to find in our countries a similar philosophical attempt to the Heideggerian one, an attempt to ground the philosophical discourse in the native speech that would allow us to refurbish our thinking and allow us to speak primordially from the essence of our own language? Why is it that in order to access our own essence we have to mediate this

endeavor through a foreign German thinker? Is it possible to repeat Heidegger’s project to re-anchor the thinking in the native tongue, and if it is, can we speak of a common group of Eastern-European nations that are historically connected, e.g. as the Slavic family of languages and nations? Aren’t we, therefore, obliged to retrace the common origins of our family of languages in order to repeat the Heideggerian gesture rather than translating his oeuvre literally by means of currently valid philosophical discourse, and perform this by means of an archeology of Slavic and other Eastern-Central European languages, engaging the philological tools of lexicography, etymology, perhaps reaching even the Paleo-Slavic? Would a comparative analysis of the Eastern-Central European translations of Heidegger provide us with means helpful in achieving the goal of a Heideggerian ontology of the Eastern-Central European Dasein? Or is the ontology of Dasein, perhaps, independent of any regional particularities, whether national or linguistic. In that case, all the local particularities would point to a common, prelinguistic denominator, i.e. that which is unspoken in that which is said, to quote a Heideggerian dictum. What would, then, be the point of articulating the ontology of Dasein in various different languages? In other words, if τὸ ὂν λέγεται πολλαχῶς, what can be said of this being which Dasein is from the perspective of its multivocity especially in its Eastern-European variation? What can we infer from the fact that Dasein is bycie przytomne, tu-bycie, jestestwo, przebywanie, przy-bywanie, tu-bytie, prítomnosť, súcnosť, život, pobyt, вотбытие, здесьбытие, себытие, существование здесь, присутствие czy бытие присутствия? What is the hermeneutic advantage of such plurivocity? Does the same hold for the entire development of Heidegger’s philosophy? How does one express Seyn (with sous rature) in Eastern-Central Europe? Finally, what is the consequence of Heidegger’s focus on the German language for us, non-Germans?

Organizer: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Organizing Committee:

  • Seweryn Blandzi (IFiS PAN Warsaw)
  • Wawrzyniec Rymkiewicz (IFiS UW Warsaw)
  • Daniel R. Sobota (IFiS PAN Warsaw)
  • Andrzej Serafin (IFiS UP Krakow)
  • Filip Borek (IF UW Warsaw) – secretary
  • Robert Ignatowicz (IF UW Warsaw)

The deadline for submitting applications: 30 June 2020.

The applications coupled with abstracts are to be sent to the secretary of the Conference at the following e-mail address: conference@martin-heidegger.org.pl

Language: English, German.

The deadline for announcing the acceptance of applications: 10 July 2020.

Venue: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

Conference fee: 75 Euro.

The number of account: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN; PL 55 1130 1017 0020 1463 0820 0001, SWIFT CODE: GOSKPLPW (title of the transfer: Heidegger in the East-Central Europe). The fee includes conference materials, dinners and coffee breaks.

The costs of transport, accommodation and breakfasts are to be incurred by our guests themselves.

Media patronage:

  • The Archive of the History of Philosophy and Social Thought
  • Kronos Philosophical Journal
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