Conceptualizing the End: its Temporality, Dialectics, and Affective Dimension
Principal Investigator at ZRC SAZUAlenka Zupančič Žerdin, PhD
Konceptualizacija konca: njegova temporalnost, dialektika in afektivna dimenzija
CollaboratorsRok Benčin, PhD, Aleš Bunta, PhD, Marina Gržinić Mauhler, PhD, Peter Klepec, PhD, Boštjan Nedoh, PhD, Jelica Šumič Riha, PhD, Tadej Troha, PhD, Matjaž Vesel, PhD, Marisa Žele, MA
Durationsince October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2025
Since roughly the time of the global financial crisis of 2008, it seems that “the end of history,” famously proclaimed and argued by Francis Fukuyama in the 1990s, has itself come to an end and history has begun to run again. This has coincided with some dramatic changes that started taking place in what is called the capitalist order, which is not surprising, since Fukuyama's thesis was largely tied to the triumph of the then prevailing form of capitalism. However, this end of the end of history predominantly takes the form of human history heading toward all kinds of catastrophes: social, political, environmental, epidemiological – all of them largely interconnected. This is why, much more than was the case during the proclaimed end of history, the figure of the end is forcefully (re)entering our imagination, our thinking, and our social interactions. It also comes accompanied by disbelief, denial, and the hope for a “return” to a previous state, usually referred to as the state of “normalcy”. The proposed research will approach the figure of the end from a philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives by examining its conceptual history and dialectics. This will include an examination of the logical and temporal paradoxes of the end and of ending, as well as their affective and/or ideological undercurrents. The objective of this research is to better understand the current debates and difficulties surrounding the question of the end and of ending, to place these debates in a broader historical and conceptual perspective, and to make significant new conceptual contributions to the notion of the end. We also anticipate that these conceptual contributions will be of significant relevance to many pressing social issues that are part of our current approach to various types of crises.
The complex figure of the end will be approached from three different – albeit connected – angles. The first angle will bring into focus cosmological debates surrounding the issues of finitude and infinity, modern ontologies of temporality, and the question of historicity. The second angle will focus on ways in which various practices, not directly philosophical (art, psychoanalysis), think of the end and its paradoxes. The third angle will focus on the affective, ideological, existential modalities of the end.
The project is organized into the following work packages (WP), which will cover the tasks listed below. The specific time frame (in months) is given at the end of each task.
WP1: Cosmology, historicity, and ontologies of temporality
1.1. Reverberations of the Copernican Revolution in philosophical discussions of the finite and infinite (Benčin, Vesel) 1-18
1.2. Examination of the critical dialogue between Descartes, Henry More, and Isaac Newton (Vesel) 19-36
1.3. The invention of history: Hegel, Marx – the link between the end and the beginning (Zupančič, Nedoh) 1-24
1.4. W. Benjamin and the “redemption of the past” (Nedoh) 1-18
1.5. The concept of “becoming” and the temporal turn in ontology (Klepec, Bunta) 12-36
1.6. Nietzsche's doctrine of “eternal recurrence” (Bunta, Zupančič) 1-18
1.7. “Being-toward-death”: Heidegger and Badiou’s criticism thereof (Klepec, Gržinić, Šumič Riha) 25-36
1.8. Foucault’s views on epistemological breaks and the study of eschatological thought concerned with the final events of history (Klepec, Žele) 1-12
1.9. Investigation of the concept of extinction (Troha, Zupančič, Žele) 7-24
Deliverables: 1-2 scientific articles (month 12); 2-3 scientific articles or book chapters (month 24); 2 scientific articles or book chapters (month 36).
WP2: The struggle with the end: fiction, psychoanalysis, and crisis
2.1. Ending as a compositional problem – the study of several contemporary works of fiction (Benčin, Bunta, Troha) 7-30
2.2. The cinematic form and its answer to the problem of the end (Troha, Zupančič) 1-18
2.3. Fictions of the end (Žele, Zupančič) 19-36
2.4. Psychoanalytic theory, the end of analysis, and changes in the social bond (Nedoh, Šumič Riha, Troha, Zupančič) 1-36
2.5. Analysis of the ethical, social, and political implications of the Covid-19 pandemic (Gržinić, Klepec, Zupančič) 1-12
2.6. The difficulties and paradoxes of ending the (pandemic) crisis (Klepec, Troha, Zupančič) 1-12
2.7. Developing an adequate conception of the end of the climate and environmental crisis (Nedoh, Troha) 7-36
Deliverables: 2-3 scientific articles (month 12); 1-2 scientific articles or book chapters (month 24); 2-3 scientific articles or book chapters (month 36).
WP 3: Affective, ideological, and existential modalities of the end
3.1. A presentation and analysis of the notion of Stimmung (Bunta, Klepec) 1-12
3.2. Anxiety and other affects of the end (Zupančič, Nedoh) 13-36
3.3. Mechanisms of disbelief, denial, and disavowal (Zupančič, Troha) 1-24
3.4. Nightmare as a “never-ending end” (Klepec, Zupančič) 1-18
3.5. Nihilism and the “death of God” (Bunta, Nedoh, Zupančič) 13-36
3.6. Fatalism and the paradoxes of absolute determination (Troha, Šumič Riha) 13-24
Deliverables: 2 scientific articles (month 12); 3 scientific articles or book chapters (month 24); 2-3 scientific articles or book chapters (month 36).
WP 4: Management and dissemination
(Coordinators: Zupančič, Nedoh)
Project management will include coordination of the research work and the regular exchange of findings among the members of the research team. Project meetings are planned monthly. Milestones: short management reports (1 page) describing the overall progress of the project (months 6, 12, 18, 24, 30) and the final report (2 pages) at the end of the project (month 36).
Dissemination of the results will continue throughout the duration of the project. Scientific articles will be published in high-quality domestic and international journals (target journals: Problemi and Filozofski vestnik, domestically, and Angelaki, Continental Philosophy Review, Journal for Cultural Research, Textual Practice, Crisis and Critique, and Parallax, internationally). In choosing the submission outlet, we will devote special attention to targeting as wide a readership as possible. In addition to the scientific articles, two scientific monographs will be submitted to a high-quality academic publisher (target publishers: Analecta and Založba ZRC, domestically, and Columbia University Press, Edinburgh University Press, The University of Minnesota Press, MIT Press, Rowman and Littlefield International, Bloomsbury, and Northwestern University Press, internationally). Milestones: the submission of the first monograph manuscript (month 24); the submission of the second monograph manuscript (month 36). Besides the scientific articles and two scientific monographs, the project will be supported by its own website, the institutional Twitter account, and a Facebook profile, which will be used to promptly communicate all important news about the project. A workshop will also be organized as part of the dissemination efforts (between months 18 and 24), where the initial research findings will be presented to the public. The international scientific conference at the conclusion of the project (months 33-36) will include a presentation of the research findings, as a video of the conference, which will be held in English, will be made available on-line. If this project is awarded funding, its ambition is definitely to continue the research also after its conclusion. In this respect, it is meant to be the beginning of a more longitudinal systematic research study that will try to spread beyond the national boundaries by strengthening international collaboration in order to raise the prospect of success in future national and international funding calls.