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«September 2019»
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The Humanism-Antihumanism Divide: the Concept of “Man” between the end of World War II and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The study will focus on diverging humanist/ antihumanist trends from the end of the Second World War until the beginning of the changes in Eastern Europe. While bringing into consideration the various levels and facets (social, political, cultural, etc.) of this phenomenon, the study will deal predominantly with its philosophical dimensions taking into account diverse proponents of antihumanism in Western thinking (Heidegger, Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, not forgetting Kojève and Koyré with their Russian heritage) and a specific turn to humanism in Russian philosophy, especially in the work of Merab Mamrdashvili and Evald Ilyenkov whose unorthodox approaches caused them a lot of trouble and led to Ilyenkov's suicide in 1979. Thus, while man and humanism were declared dead and finished one way or another in a number of theoretical perspectives by various Western thinkers, humanism and a turn to the problem of man became a more or less oblique stratagem for undermining the official Marxist dogma in Eastern Europe. What brings together these two trends, in spite of their divergence, and what makes dialogue between them possible (the drama of Mamardashvili's friendship with Althusser, which had dire consequences for the Russian-Georgian philosopher, would be one example) is their function and ethos as critique in two contrasting situations. Hence the dialogue was desired but fundamentally failed.

My intention to study in more detail this (perhaps, fruitful) failure is dictated by the hope that, in its blind spots, a more comprehensive perspective to contemporary discussions might be uncovered.

 

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