‘Apocalypse’ and ‘catastrophe’ conjure up misfortunes, evoking final events marked by disastrous endings. The etymologies of both terms, however, recall different meanings – revelation (apokalypsis) and overturning (katastrophe), respectively – that allow us to read all endeavors of language and thought to totalize history and meaning against the grain. What happens when the end does not come to an end, when the absolute turns out to be conditioned, when the logos is confronted by its impossibility to signify? Catastrophic outcomes retroactively transform the processes from which they result and may be interpreted as refutations that sabotage the very aims guiding such ventures. Yet apocalyptic reversals do not prevent us from making the wager to totalize. Indeed they reveal and challenge the idea of a ‘cunning of totality’. Through discussions on Hegel, Sophists, Lacan, Kojève, and Wittgenstein, this conference aimed to explore the dangers, crises, and compulsions at stake in theoretical engagements with the notion of totality.
Sara Fortuna is professor of philosophy of language at the Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi and associate member of the ICI Berlin. Her recent publications include The Power of Disturbance: Elsa Morante’s ‘Aracoeli’ (2009; co-ed. with Manuele Gragnolati), Dante´s Plurilingualism (2010; co-ed. with Manuele Gragnolati and Jürgen Trabant); Il giallo di Wittgenstein (2009), Wittgensteins Philosophie des Kippbildes (2012), On Dogville (2012).
Fiorinda Li Vigni is associate researcher at the Istituto Italiano di Studi filosofici – Scuola di Roma. Among her books are Jacques D’Hondt et le parcours de la raison hégélienne (2005); Protagora e l’arte della politica (2010), Il concetto di astratto nel giudizio sulla Rivoluzione francese. Burke, Maistre, Cuoco, Hegel, Marx (2006).
Paolo Vinci is professor of practical philosophy at the Sapienza Universitá di Roma and associate member of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi filosofici – Scuola di Roma. Among his recent publications: “Coscienza infelice” e “anima bella”. Commentario della “Fenomenologia dello spirito” di Hegel (2012); Soggetto e tempo. Heidegger interprete di Kant (2012); La forma filosofia in Marx. Dalla critica dell’ideologia alla critica dell’economia politica (2011).
An ICI Berlin event, organized by Jamila M. H. Mascat in co-operation with the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici – Scuola di Roma
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