Breng mij die horizon! Filosofische reisverhalen

Breng mij die horizon! Filosofische reisverhalen

Jos de Mul. Breng me die horizon! Filosofische reisverhalen. Amsterdam: Boom, 2019.  Breng mij die horizon! laat zien wat er gebeurt…

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De domesticatie van het noodlot. De wedergeboorte van de tragedie uit de geest van de technologie

De domesticatie van het noodlot. De wedergeboorte van de tragedie uit de geest van de technologie

Jos de Mul. De domesticatie van het noodlot. De wedergeboorte van de tragedie uit de geest van de technologie. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat,…

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Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Jos de Mul. Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology. State University of New York (SUNY)…

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命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated\)

命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated\)

Jos de Mul. 命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology). Guilin:…

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Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

Jos de Mul. Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999, 316 p.…

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Het romantische verlangen in (post)moderne kunst en filosofie

Het romantische verlangen in (post)moderne kunst en filosofie

Jos de Mul. Het romantische verlangen in (post)moderne kunst en filosofie. Uitgeverij Klement, 2007 (4de druk), 284 p. 1de druk, 1990; 2de druk, 1991; 3de…

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后)现代艺术与哲学中的浪漫之欲。Chinese translation of Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

后)现代艺术与哲学中的浪漫之欲。Chinese translation of Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

Jos de Mul. 后)现代艺术与哲学中的浪漫之欲。Chinese translation of Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy. Wuhan: Wuhan University Press, 2010, 306p. ISBN 978-7-307-08019-5RMB…

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Cyberspace Odyssee

Cyberspace Odyssee

Jos de Mul. Cyberspace Odyssee. Kampen: Klement, 6de druk: 2010, 352 p. 1de druk, 2002; 2de druk, 2003; 3de druk,2004;…

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Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology

Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology

Jos de Mul. Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology. Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 334 p. Translation of Cyberspace…

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Siberuzayda macera dolu bir yolculuk. Sanal bir ontoloji ve antropolojiye doğru

Siberuzayda macera dolu bir yolculuk. Sanal bir ontoloji ve antropolojiye doğru

Jos de Mul. Siberuzayda macera dolu bir yolculuk. Sanal bir ontoloji ve antropolojiye doğru. Istanbul: Kitap Yayinevi, 2008, 400 p. Turkish…

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The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens and Jos de Mul, The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility. Heinrich…

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Horizons of Hermeneutics

Horizons of Hermeneutics

Jos de Mul. Horizons of Hermeneutics: Intercultural Hermeneutics in a Globalizing World.  Frontiers of Philosophy in China. Vol. 6, No.…

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The game of life

The game of life

Jos de Mul. The Game of Life: Narrative and Ludic Identity Formation in Computer Games.  In: Lori Way (ed.), Representations of…

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The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life

The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life

Jos de Mul. The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010 (second edition - eBook), 424…

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Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Jos de Mul. ( ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014. Helmut Plessner (1892–1985)…

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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Marxism according to Groucho     "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog…

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Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life.

Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life.

Jos de Mul. Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life. Translation of Dutch review, published…

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The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

Jos de Mul. The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games. In: J. Goldstein and J. Raessens,Handbook…

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序言 约斯·德·穆尔 In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art

序言 约斯·德·穆尔 In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art

序言 约斯·德·穆尔. In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art. Volume One. Shanghai:…

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The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

Jos de Mul. The work of art in the age of digital recombination. In J. Raessens, M. Schäfer, M. v. d.…

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Jos de Mul, The (Bio)technological Sublime. After Hours Conversation lecture. Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, October 2, 2012.

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In our (post)modern world it is no longer the superior forces of nature that calls forth the experience of the sublime, but rather, the superior forces of technology. However, with the transfer of power from divine nature to human technology, the ambiguous experience of the sublime also nests in the latter. In the era of converging technologies – information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and the neurosciences – it is technology itself that gains an ungeheuer character in its battle with nature. Without doubt these technologies have increased our power over nature enourmously.

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However, this does not mean that we have become gods in the sense that we have gained control over our own destiny. Rather, our relation with nature is changing:

Where technology and nature are traditionally seen as opposed to each other, they now appear to merge or even trade places. While old nature, in the sense of trees, plants, animals, atoms, or climate, is increasingly controlled and governed by man – it is turned into a cultural category –, our technological environment becomes so complex and uncontrollable, that we start to relate to it as a nature of its own.

While technology is an expression of the grandeur of the human intellect, we also increasingly experience it as a force that controls and threatens us. Technologies such as atomic power station and genetic modification, to mention just two paradigmatic examples, are Janus-faced: they reflect, at once, our hope for the benefits they may bring as well as our fear of their uncontrollable, destructive potentials.

At first sight it seems that in these cases technology completely controls and conquers nature. However, in the fast growing domain of the biotechnologies (which will probably become as important in the twenty-first century as the physical sciences were in the twentieth century), we witness a remarkable revenge of nature within technology. After all, technologies like genetic modification and synthetic biology create entities that are no longer passive manipulatable innate elements, but have, and will increasingly have, their ‘own agenda’.

A full version of this lecture will be published in the Spring 2013 issue of the Institute Letter of the IAS.

Published in Lectures
Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:44

Tragedy and repetition

Tragedy and repetition. XPONIKA AIΣΘHTIKHΣ / Annales d'esthetique / Annals for Aesthetics, Vol.46. Volume B (2011), 191-202.

Abstract  According to writers such as Nietzsche, Steiner, and Oudemans and Lardinois the tragic culture of the Greeks has become entirely alien to us. They argue that within the Christian and modern worldview there is no place for tragedy anymore. In this article it is claimed that this does not entail in any shape or form that tragic events cannot take place anymore within Christian and modern culture. In modern culture this particularly happens, with no lack of tragic irony, precisely in the domain in which we believed tragedy had been eliminated: (our interaction with) technology.

Although technological tragedies differ in many respects from classical tragedies, they also show deep continuities. Just as in the case of their classical models, the behavior of the tragic heroes of our time is characterized by miscalculation (hamartia), blindness (atè) with regard to the tragic reality and foolhardiness (hybris).Now, tragic events do not automatically raise tragic awareness. Tragedies are characterized by the fact that the tragic heroes – unlike the spectators – are unaware of the fate that is befalling them, and coming about because of them. But most tragedies also have a reversal of circumstances (peripéteia), a moment at which hopeful expectation crumbles and the hero suddenly becomes aware of his tragic position. Postmodernity is another way of saying that modern culture recognizes itself as tragic.

"In an era of heightened existential vulnerability and awareness of finitude there is a correspondingly heightened need for new contexts of human understanding. Here we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to de Mul for providing us with a superb explication of the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey, whose precocious insights into the finitude and historical contingency of human understanding promise to contribute immeasurably to the widening of its horizons."

Robert D. Stolorow, Human Studies. A Journal for Philosophy and the Social Sciences (2012) Read entire review

Also see The Tragedy of Finitude

Published in Publications
Jos de Mul. The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games. In: J. Goldstein and J. Raessens,Handbook of Computer Games Studies. Cambridge MA (MIT Press), 2005, 251-266.

Human identity is not a self-contained entity, hidden in the depths of our inner self, but is actively constructed in a social world with the aid of various expressions, such as social roles, rituals, clothes, music, and (life) stories. These expressions not only mediate between us and our world (referentiality) and between us and our fellow man (communicability), but also between us and ourselves (self-understanding). Consequently, changes in these mediating structures reflect changes in the relationship between us and our world, in our social relationships, and in our self-conception.

In recent decades the domain of expressions has been (massively1) extended by computer games and, as a result, we witness the emergence of a new tool for identity formation. In this chapter I shall examine the way computer games construct our identity in comparison with traditional narrative media, such as novels and movies. My investigation is primarily philosophical: it aims at a conceptual clarification of the relationship between ( playing) computer games and human identity. However, though this study is not empirical, one of its aims is to contribute to the theoretical framework for empirical research in this field. The theoretical starting point of my investigation is Ricoeur’s theory of narrative identity. I will argue that this theory provides a fruitful conceptual framework for understanding the way playing computer games construct personal identity. However, because his theory exclusively focuses on standard linguistic narratives, we will have to amend this theory in order to apply it within the domain of computer games.

I will develop the argument in three sections, starting with a short analysis of the concept of identity. Against this background, I explain Ricoeur’s theory of narrative identity and discuss some constraints that prevent its application to computer games. In the next section, after a short analysis of the concepts of play, game, and computer game, I discuss the narrative dimension of computer games and the interactive dimension that distinguish computer games fundamentally from narratives. Then I present an outline of a theory of ludic identity, and discuss the transformation in our present culture from narrative to ludic identity construction. Finally, I formulate some aspects of this transformation that are crucial for its evaluation.

Published in Book chapters
Jos de Mul. Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn. In: A. Pichler & H. Hrachovec (eds.) Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information. Proceedings of the 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium in Kirchberg, 200 Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. New Series, Vol 6. Heusenstamm: Ontos Verlag, 157-183.
 

Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn
 

Wir sind aufs Glatteis geraten, wo die Reibung fehlt, also die Bedingungen in gewissem Sinne ideal sind, aber wir eben deshalb auch nicht gehen können.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Glattes Eis, ein Paradies für den, der gut zu tanzen weiß.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Introduction1

‘Although Wittgenstein is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential philosophers of this century, there is very little agreement about the nature of his contribution. In fact, one of the most striking characteristics of the secondary literature on Wittgenstein is the overwhelming lack of agreement about what he believed and why’. These are the opening words of David Stern’s article ‘The availability of Wittgenstein’s philosophy’ in The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein (Stern 1996, 442). In his introduction to the same volume, Hans Sluga even proposes that our fascination with Wittgenstein might be ‘a function of our bewilderment over who he really is and what his works stand for’ (Sluga 1996, 1).

Published in Book chapters
Jos de Mul. The work of art in the age of digital recombination. In J. Raessens, M. Schäfer, M. v. d. Boomen, Lehmann and S. A.-S. & Lammes (eds.), Digital Material: Anchoring New Media in Daily Life and Technology. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, May 2009, 95-106.

Artists, from the prehistoric painters who engraved and painted figures on cave walls to new media artists whose work depends on computer technologies, have always used media. Media, used here in the broad sense as ‘means for presenting information’[1], are not innocent means. Ever since Kant’s Copernican revolution, we know that experience is constituted and structured by the forms of sensibility and the categories of human understanding, and after the so-called linguistic and mediatic turns in philosophy, it is generally assumed that media play a crucial role in the configuration of the human mind and experience. Media are interfaces that mediate not only between us and our world (designation), but also between us and our fellow man (communication), and between us and ourselves (self-understanding). Aesthetic experience is no exception: artistic media are interfaces that not only structure the imagination of the artist, but the work of art and the aesthetic reception as well.[2]

In this paper I aim to contribute to this reflection by analyzing the way the computer interface constitutes and structures aesthetic experience. My point of departure will be Walter Benjamin‘s ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction‘,  first published in the Zeitschrift  für Sozialforschung  in 1936. In this epochal essay Benjamin investigates how mechanical reproduction  transforms the work of art, claiming that in this ontological transformation  the cult value, which once characterized the classical work of art, has been replaced by exhibition value. The thesis I will defend in this paper is, firstly, that in the age of digital recombination, the database constitutes the ontological model of the work of art and, secondly, that in this transformation the exhibition value is being replaced by what we might call manipulation value.

Published in Book chapters
(together with V. Frissen, M. de Lange, S. Lammes & J. Raessens, eds.), Playful identities. The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015.

Digital media technologies increasingly shape how people relate to the world, to other people and to themselves. This prompts questions about present-day mediations of identity. This book explores the notion of play as a heuristic lens to look at changing media practices and identity construction. Playful media culture is analyzed far beyond its apparent manifestation in computer games. The central argument of the book is that play and games nowadays are not only appropriate metaphors to capture post-modern human identities, but also the very means by which people reflexively construct their identity.

Playful Identities presents academic research at the intersection of media theory, play and games studies, social sciences and philosophy. The book carves out a cross-disciplinary domain that connects the most recent insights from play and game studies, media research, and identity studies.

Valerie Frissen is ceo of the SIDN Fund and professor of ict & Social Change at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sybille Lammes is associate professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick.

Michiel de Lange is a part-time lecturer New Media Studies at Utrecht University.

Jos de Mul is full professor of Philosophy of Man and Culture at the Faculty of Philosophy of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Joost Raessens is full professor of Media Theory at the Faculty of Humanities of Utrecht University.

“An illuminating study on the increasingly complexity of ludic media and technologies of the self.”
– Prof. Dr. Mathias Fuchs, Leuphana University Lüneburg

“What a brilliant, refreshing, and positively playful approach to the ludic imperative. These are the smartest, most articulate, and up-to-date essays on this subject, by the very people creating this field of study.”
– Douglas Rushkoff, author, Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, and Playing the Future.

Thanks to a  grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) this book can be downloaded for free in the OApen Library (Open Access Publishing in European Networks).

Published in Books
Jos de Mul. ( ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014.

Helmut Plessner (1892–1985) was one of the founders of philosophical anthropology, and his book Levels of the Organic and Man, first published in 1928, has inspired generations of philosophers, biologists, social scientists, and humanities scholars. This volume offers the first substantial introduction to Plessner’s philosophical anthropology in English, not only setting it in context with such familiar figures as Bergson, Cassirer, and Merleau-Ponty, but also showing Plessner’s relevance to contemporary discussions in a wide variety of fields in the humanities and sciences.

September 2014 - Hardback - 156 x 234 mm - 498 pages
ISBN 978 90 8964 634 7 - e-ISBN 978 90 4852 310 8 - €119.00 / £96.00

Open Access edition 2016: free download (see attachment)

Reviews

"Dieser Band ist inhaltlich von der sehr aufschlussreichen Einleitung bis zum äußerst spannenden Entwurf der 'Philosophical Anthropologt 2.0'  äußerst gelungen. Es handelt sich sowohl um einen Beitrag zur Plessner Forschung, der weit über diese hinausreicht, als auch um einen Einblick in die aktuellen Debatten der philosophische Anthropologie. De Band nimmt den Faden  der Philosophische Anthropologie Plessners auf, die sich von Anfang an als interdiziplinäres Unternehmen verstand. Nicht nu, das die Autoren aus verschiedenen Gebieten stammen, sondern Plessners Denken wird auch mit fremden Disziplinen konfrontiert. Auf diese Weise liefert dieser Band ein farbenfrohes Panorama, das dazu einlädt Pl;essner neu zu Lesen und interdisziplinär zu arbeiten."

Jahannes F.M. Schlick. Plessner 2.0? Die Philosophische Anthropologie imn Kontext der gegenwärtigen Natur- und Sozialwissenschaften. Internationales Jahrbuch für Philosophische Anthropologie. Volume 5 (2015), 279-289.

"Whether new historical developments demand revisions of, supplementations to, or merely further internal distinctions within the Plessnerian conceptual framework is an important question. A question of arguably at least equal importance is whether researchers will continue to confront new developments with the same systematic depth and breadth and with the same openness to and inventiveness about novel concepts, as Plessner did. From this perspective, Verbeek and de Mul’s “meta-eccentricity” and “poly-eccentricity” show the fecundity of Plessner’s approach as much as any limitation to it. These innovations show that new analyses of centeredness and decenteredness of various kinds, within a model of space and movement that allows for interpenetration among physical, logical, and phenomenological modes of appearance and functioning, can be built through variations—eccentric variations, perhaps—on Plessner’s initial account. [..] Further applications and developments of the Plessnerian concepts should be sought not only in scholarly and historical modes but also in constructive and experimental ones. Some of the strongest and most interesting essays in the new volume are in this genre of extension and re-invention.
The accumulated discussions of Plessner, in the nearly 100 years since the publication of Die Stufen, already include remarkably insightful and provocative work, both in sympathetic and critical modes. I think, for instance, of the discussions of Plessner in Erich Rothacker’s (1966) Philosophische Anthropologie; in many of Jürgen Habermas’s works in works by Jürgen Habermas, Herbert Schnädelbach, Hans Blumenberg, Odo Marquard, Peter Sloterdijk, and Marjorie Grene16; in Axel Honneth and Hans Joas’s (1988) Social Action and Human Nature, Roberto Esposito’s ([2002] 2011) Immunitas, and Christof Wulf’s ([2004] 2013) Anthropology: A Continental Perspective (see also, Gebauer and Wulf 2009); and now this volume. Plessner studies can become more compelling, more wide-ranging, and more eccentric, by building on a dialogue with this accumulating literature."

Phillip Honenberger. Eccentric Investigations of (Post-)Humanity. Review Essay.  Philosophy of the Social Sciences 2016, Vol. 46(1) 56–76 (for the complete review see attachment).

Published in Books
Bruno Accarino, Jos de Mul and Hans-Peter Krüger (eds.). Internationales Jahrbuch für Philosophische Anthropologie. Band 2 / International Yearbook for Philosophical Anthropology. Volume 2. R. Becker, J. Fischer & M. Schloßberger, (eds). Philosophische Anthropologie im Aufbruch. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010, 364 p.

Die Geschichte der Philosophischen Anthropologie beginnt 1928 mit einem Doppelschlag: Zeitgleich erscheinen Max Schelers "Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos" und Helmuth Plessners "Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch".
Bis heute wird kontrovers diskutiert, inwiefern sich beide Ansätze ergänzen bzw. in Spannung zueinander stehen. Auf der einen Seite hat das durch die Lebenswissenschaften neu gestellte Problem einer philosophischen Biologie die bei beiden Autoren zentrale Idee der psycho-physischen Indifferenz des Lebendigen in den Mittelpunkt der Aufmerksamkeit gerückt.
Auf der anderen Seite stellt sich immer noch die Frage, in welchem Verhältnis Philosophische Anthropologie und Metaphysik stehen: Hier gibt es vor allem in Hinblick auf die Konzeption des Geistes Differenzen, deren Bedeutung es herauszuarbeiten gilt. 
Neben zahlreichen Beiträgen zu diesen Fragestellungen enthält der Band ein bislang unveröffentlichtes Manuskript Max Schelers: "Das Problem der Struktur des Menschen und die sog[enannten] ‚psychophysischen Theorien’", das Anfang der 20er Jahre entstanden ist.

Published in Books
Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens and Jos de Mul, The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility. Heinrich Böll Stiftung. European Union. December 21, 2011. 

Does it matter at all?

oedipusTBAThe year 2011 will probably be known for its quick succession of Euro summits. They all had a similar, tragic outline. Every summit started with good intentions: this would be the summit bringing the solution for the crisis. As a result, expectations ran sky high and financial markets lifted. As the summit came closer, expectations were moderated, ballyhooing tempered, rumors about failures spread, and possible solutions were put into doubt. During – or just before – the summit, it became clear that although some solution was to be expected, it definitely would not be the solution. For a moment markets had seemed relieved after the summits, but within a few days pessimism took over. Instead of restoring confidence the summit had further weakened it: once again it became clear that this was not the final solution; once again a new summit would be needed. Just as in Greek tragedy, every next step seems to bring us closer to the final catastrophe.

Published in Online publications
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