Shortly after the hostilities of the Iraq war were declared to have come to an end, the renowned philosophers Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida published a manifesto invoking the notion of a "core Europe", distinct from both the British and the "new" European candidates for EU membership and defined above all by its secular, Enlightenment and social-democratic traditions. A key component of the manifesto was its insistence on the need for a counterweight to the perceived influence of the US, a theme that also resonates in recent discussions about the establishment of a European military force outside the command structures of Nato. On the same weekend in May 2003, a number of other leading intellectuals, among them Umberto Eco, Gianni Vattimo and Richard Rorty, published essays addressing these themes in major European newspapers and almost immediately responses to these essays began to appear. The impression of a lively and highly intelligent debate was impossible to ignore. This volume is intended to provide readers in the Anglophone world with the opportunity to gain access to the debate.
While the fall-out from the Iraq war continues to rumble and EU expansion continues apace, this is compelling reading for anyone interested in the future of the transatlantic alliance.
Daniel Levy works in the Department of Sociology at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. Max Pensky is Professor of Philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York. John Torpey teaches in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia. Jacques Derrida was Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. English translations of his work include "Given Time," "Memories of the Blind," "Specters of Marx, The Politics of Friendship, " and "The Gift of Death." Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the author of "Foucault's Pendulum, The Name of the Rose," and other international bestsellers. He lives in Milan, Italy.