2011-2013: The Challenges of a Phenomenology of Oblivion

Abstract

In order to elucidate the phenomenological complexity of the oblivion and to situate this analysis into the larger frame of a philosophy of human fallibility, I will proceed to a comparative study, taking into account three positions on forgetting and existential historicity, belonging to Paul Ricœur, Jan Patočka and Alexandru Dragomir. Whilst giving priority to a phenomenological approach, this project will show that despite their different visions on forgetting, the three philosophers propose a similar reinterpretation of memory which is no longer seen as a mere recollecting capacity (an archive memory), but as an aptitude for vigilance towards Europe’s present times. From this point of view, we should pay attention to the manner of dealing with the past which forges our historical being: besides the danger of an irreversible forgetting, there is also the unrelenting threat of reifying commemorations. As a solution to these problems, I propose the adoption of a translational model. By embracing it, I intend to outline a new type of historiography that does not ignore our ontological fragility (oblivion, the temporal distance, axiological differences, historical finitude), but quite on the contrary: this new historiography, by its constant essays of translating the past (for example, proposing radical translations for the radical traumas of our recent history (such as the communism), keeps alive the past’s questionability and its constitutive character for our ipse-identity.

Project director: Dr. Paul Marinescu