István Sümegi is a Hungarian philosopher, born in 1966, in Sárvár. He holds degrees in history, literature and public education. He earned his PhD from the University of Debrecen in 2001. His professor was Mihály Vajda. He did his habilitation in 2008. Since 1992 he has been teaching at West-Hungarian University in Szombathely. Between 2001 and 2004 he was the recipient of the prestigious Békésy György Scholarship. His most important publications include: Ontológiai töredékek (Ontological Fragments) (2001), A boldogság íze – Ottlik Géza történetei (The Taste of Happiness—Ottlik Géza’s stories) (2006), Alanyi filozófia (Subjective Philosphy) (2011), Talpalatnyi remény – Portrék Vajda Mihályról (The Hope what We Need—Vajda Mihály’s Portraits) (2015)
What does it mean to ask? Understanding the Last Phase of Elemér Hankiss’ Thinking”
The support of the 2014 “TÁMOP – National Program of Excellence” made it possible that I complete a long essay entitled “The Twilight of Humanities” based on my previous studies and sketches. My main argument there was that the humanities and social sciences are facing an increasing societal resistance, which is partly a result of the ways in which these fields of knowledge define themselves. This self-definition is due to the fact that the primary paradigm of thinking today is represented by the natural sciences and the fact that both the humanities and the natural sciences belong in the same institutional system of the Academia. In the past 150 years most advocates of the humanities have gradually accepted the primacy and exclusivity of the academic standards of the natural sciences. The obvious consequence of this trend has been that the fields of humanities research have become narrow as they have not been able to surpass the methodological frameworks created by these standards. The basic questions that once formed the grounds of classical humanities have been excluded from scholars’ scrutiny and the standardized research programs have provided less and less space for creative and substantive thinking. Tightly connected to the issue of the “twilight of the humanities” and to plea for a return to thinking, I set out to prepare a case study on Elemér Hankiss’s later works and scrutinize today’s possibilities to think while surpassing disciplinary boundaries and methodological limitations.
What are the most important tacit fundamental signifiers of a common European culture and how do they determine our thinking?