ABSTRACT

This address discusses both the organization of SPEP (the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) and SPEP as an organization. I take up these issues by describing the foundation of SPEP in terms of a positive insight into a distinctive style of doing philosophy and a subsequent experience of being other. I then suggest that there is an initial and fundamental phase of openness characteristic of SPEP as “eyes wide open” and another narrowing moment of SPEP that runs counter to this as “eyes wide shut.” In a fourth section, I depict a difficulty in which SPEP finds itself today: a “continental drift,” when SPEP becomes identified with continental philosophy. Whereas continental philosophy might find itself in antagonist relations to, for example, “analytic philosophy,” SPEP does not necessarily find itself in this way. It is therefore necessary to understand continental philosophy as a participant in and from SPEP, not SPEP as an allegiance to a discipline or as an organ of continental philosophy. SPEP is an organization that edges beyond itself and, according to its distinctive style, is characterized by openness to the things themselves and their structures in terms of an orientation to problems, experience, context, and critique.

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