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  • The Responsive Community:

  • A Conference in Existential Anthropology

About the conference

Man does not only live life. In order to live, he has to lead it. The otherwise opposed traditions of philosophical anthropology and existentialist philosophy have made us familiar with this thought. And existentialist thinking in particular has obliged us to think it in the first person perspective: What is the human being? is a question that can never be answered adequately in the third person perspective. It is only me who can and must respond to my existence. I am in the hot spot! Being called by the voice of conscience ensuing from nowhere, being isolated by the mood of angst coming over me, being thrown back to my being-free in a being-toward death – I have to decide! It is a matter of my commitment, my passion, my engagement and my responsibility. – But what if existence is in common from the very outset? This is a point of departure for more recent deconstructive readings of community. And from here, it seems that community can no longer be something improper added to a proper existentiality. Contrary to the idea that we unburden ourselves in sociality, this point of departure does not, however, imply that responding to existence becomes one bit easier. It initially means simply that the human condition of not knowing what it means to be human is a predicament we share. Upon second thought, this might even increase the predicament! For it will then no longer be a predicament of which I can at least say that only I know that I am in it. On the contrary, it will always have been exposed that I am in this predicament. And this exposition will always have been communal. A bit tongue in cheek one might say: none of us have any idea what it means to be human – this is ultimately what we share. Obviously this would mean that responding to existence becomes a highly intricate affair. We find ourselves addressed by the question: how is community possible between those who may ultimately have nothing in common – except having to respond in common?



It is the aim of the conference to bring together philosophical anthropology and existential thinking by revisiting the deconstructive reading of community. Following the inoperative community (Nancy), the inavowable community (Blanchot) and the coming community (Agamben) we propose for consideration the responsive community. And we invite to reflect on notions such as: responsiveness, responsibility, correspondence, community, communication, mutuality, reciprocity, equality, alterity, secrecy, nihilism, existence and being human. In this regard we are happy to be able to present a number of distinguished international speakers

Confirmed Speakers

Organized by

Organized by the research project Existential Anthropology: Inquiring Human Responsiveness

Supported by a grant from Danish Research Council (FKK), 11-104778.