The present global crisis and the geopolitical scenarios which Europe and the West, generally, will have to confront in the next few decades will require a deeper cultural awareness and effective political action. The main actors on the world stage apparently appeal to the fundamental values elaborated by the European political culture, but these ideas are being challenged by alternative styles of power and by the current dynamics of international relations. Tensions and contradictions are currently in evidence even in the countries where those values were created and developed, and call for a re-thinking of the tradition and a new formulation of those principles and of the concrete practices deriving from them.
What have been typically and rhetorically referred to as “The Roots of Europe”, that is, the Greek origins of democracy and the Medieval Christian synthesis, are, today, too frail and too distant to confront the present lacerations. What is required, rather, is a renewal of the deep, fertile philosophical and cultural reflection which resulted in three cornerstones of Modernity: 1) the Enlightenment as a political and ethical conception based on the idea of reason as a critical viewpoint; 2) the National States, as communities defined by a common language and a unified culture, bound by stable borders; 3) the conception of international relations as a balance of powers guided by shared principles and values.
Modernity is the great laboratory of Europe, and its heritage still characterizes European and Western nations and cultures in the global scenario, especially in confronting the current range of difficulties, crises and conflicts. The XX century witnessed deep and dramatic distortions imposed on these values, but it also saw their reaffirmation in the defeat of totalitarianism and in the elaboration of a shared European project, which remains, however, far from being fully realized.
For all these reasons, there is more need for Europe today than ever before.
The issues now calling for a philosophical, political and cultural reflection and action are complex and challenging: justice beyond boundaries, from national borders to the boundaries separating generations, genders and ethnicities; the environmental crisis, in urgent need of effective policies but facing grave difficulties; immigration and the ethos of multicultural societies; the crisis of European institutions and the need for a reformulation of the European Union project; economic inequalities and the resulting social turmoil, mainly in the new ghettos and in urban peripheries; the systemic tensions generated by a capitalistic economy and the need for development and growth.
The cooperation of universities, research institutes, cultural movements, political actors and economic forces is of paramount importance in facing these challenges.
In this scenario, the International Research Centre for European Culture and Politics, established on January 15th, 2017 at San Raffaele University in Milan, aims to create a network among the scholars and international Centres studying these issues, as well as the institutions and social and economic influencers, in order to propose and adopt adequate visions and policies.
The IRCECP aims to realize research projects and studies on European culture and politics in a cooperative network among various international institutions, not limited to European ones. The main issues are the following:
– leading values of European culture, in particular the conceptions of freedom, justice, rights and history
– the idea of personal and political liberty in modern thought
– Enlightenment ethics and contemporary ethics as the characteristically European morality
– the principle of respect for persons in the contemporary debate: rights, migrations, environment, relations between states, justice and equality across borders
– challenges stemming from global politics and the role of Europe
– principles of sustainable development and the issue of public decision-making
– forms of development, and the future of the European Union
– the social role of public opinion, and of literary and artistic culture in the European social context
The Centre will realize scientific research projects in cooperation with the scholars and their Centres participating in the Scientific Committee. The network will participate in national and European calls for funded research.
The Scientific Committee will define a sufficiently broad and flexible area of research to encompass most of the existing research programs in the respective Centres. Each Centre will develop its own approach to the issue; bilateral and multilateral meetings, exchanges and interactions will culminate in an international conference at which all the participating Centres will present the outcomes of their research. The Conference will consist of both a scientific and a public component, the latter involving the presence of representatives from the European Union, economic and social organisations, and national and local authorities. The Conference will end with a Policy Recommendation on the chosen topic, aimed at suggesting ideas, strategies and policies to be disseminated to institutions as well as to the general public.
The papers presented will be proposed for publication in a book or an international journal.
The Centre and the Conference will be hosted in the Palazzo Arese Borromeo, Cesano Maderno, near Milan: http://www.vivereilpalazzo.it/
Roberto Mordacci (Director), Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Massimo Cacciari, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Alessandro Del Maschio, Rector, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Members of the Research Centre
Stefano Bacin, Storia della filosofia morale, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Francesca Pongiglione, Filosofia sociale, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Massimo Reichlin, Etica della vita, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Roberta Sala, Filosofia politica, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Sarah Songhorian, PhD, Cattedra Giuseppe Rotelli di Filosofia, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele