Dialogue: Revisiting Europe, from History to values

Marina Garcés, Philipp Blom

“The Radical Enlightment upholds philosphy’s dead angles and shady corners, and extend to all mankind an equitative and antidogmatic judgement.”

Marina Garcés

“Rationalism can help us interpret the world but passion is what connects us to it. […] Creating a reason for hope is the only escape to the rise of an authoritarian regime.”

Philipp Blom

What can we learn from Europe’s history? Can we revisit the legacy of the radical Enlightenment and recover the rupture and challenge from those ideas ? In this dialogue, Marina Garcés and Philipp Blom reflect on the shared past with a direct interpellation to the current moment.

Modern Europe and its cultural imaginary are born with the outbreak of the Enlightenment and the irruption of cosmopolitan values ​​such as peace, freedom, fraternity or the progress of the sciences. While the European narrative framed these values ​​into a modern and emancipatory founding myth, in parallel Europe’s History came through a project of domination that would lead to some of the darkest episodes of humanity such as colonialism or the holocaust.

Today, in a context of enormous uncertainties and global changes, Europe is a concept that blurs amidst the tensions caused by the rise of national-populism and xenophobia, Euroscepticism and neoliberal austerity or also the demographic crisis and the state nationalisms. In this dialogue, the German historian and writer Philipp Blom and the philosopher Marina Garcés think about Europe from history and philosophy to guide the values ​​that must be claimed today. The conversation is moderated by the director of the Centre for Contemporary Studies of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Almeda.


Marina Garcés

Marina Garcés is a philosopher and author of several essays. For 15 years, she has been working as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Zaragoza. She is currently teaching philosophical thinking and contemporary science at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and she is one of the promoters of the critical thinking collective Espai en Blanc. In recent years she has published Filosofía inacabada(2015), Fora de classe: textos de filosofia de guerrilla (2016), Nova il·lustració radical (2017), Ciutat Princesa (2018) and Humanitats en acció (2019)


Philipp Blom

Philipp Blom is an historian, novelist and journalist. He has written several essays about the History of Europe at the beginning of the XX century. Among his best-selling works are A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment (2010), Fracture: Life and Culture in the West, 1918-1938 (2015) and The Vertigo Years (2010), where he describes the previous decade and a half before the outbreak of the First World War.

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