Subproject 2: Discovering the Limits of Reason - Europe and the Crisis of Universalism

Director Dr Pamela Slotte. Team leader Dr Timo Miettinen.

The subproject Discovering the Limits of Reason - Europe and the Crisis of Universalism argues that the idea of European universalism – the all-encompassing applicability of its values, practices and institutions – lies at the core of the modern project. This idea has legitimized not only the political development of European societies but also the propagation of European norms to other cultures. The team focuses on the crisis of European universalism in the aftermath of the WWI. It investigates into the unique relativisation of European rationality in the philosophical, legal, scientific, theological and anthropological discourses of the inter-war period and the subsequent attempts to rethink the idea of universalism in the works of Continental philosophers. According to the central hypothesis, the competing political responses of the mid-war period can be understood in regard to different narratives of universalism.