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The Austrian Experience: The Mamardashvili Variant

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“Vienna at the Dawn of the 20th Century” is the last lecture given by M. K. Mamardashvili in October 1990 in the Pushkin Museum of Art, one month before his untimely death. One would not call this a text which sums up Mamardashvili’s life and work. We are confronted with a text, typical for the “Georgian Socrates,” with deviations, asides, ellipses and entimemes, but also brimming with his usual intense concentrated pursuit of an elusive meaning. However, the topic this time is the particular experience of Austrian culture. Nevertheless, in this “tune” we hear Mamardashvili’s key theme: consciousness and its ambivalent relationship to culture. Why Vienna? In this generalised symbol of the Austrian spirit (a metaphoric substitution for the tripartite culture of Vienna – Prague – Budapest), the author sees a self-determined turning away of culture from a state of retrograde stagnation towards a living “I”, present in the here and now.

Affiliations: 1: Vysshaia Shkola Ekonomiki, Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Department of Philosophy, Moscow


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