Into the World: The Movement of Patočka’s Phenomenology

Springer Verlag (2019)
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Abstract

Critically evaluating and synthesizing all the previous research on the phenomenology of Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, the book brings a new voice into contemporary philosophical discussions. It elucidates the development of Patočka’s phenomenology and offers a critical appropriation of his work by connecting it with non-phenomenological approaches. The first half of the book offers a succinct, and systematizing, overview of Patočka’s phenomenology throughout its development to help readers appreciate the motives behind and grounds for its transformations. The second half systematically explicates, critically examines and creatively develops Patočka’s concept of the movement of existence as the most promising part of his asubjective phenomenology. The book appeals to new readers of Patočka as well as his scholars, and to students and researchers of contemporary philosophy concerned with topics such as embodiment, personal identity, intersubjectivity, sociality, or historicity. By re-assessing Patočka’s philosophy of history and his civilizational analysis, it also helps to better articulate the question of the place of Europe in the post-European world.

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Chapters

Passing Through the World Crisis

In this chapter, I reconsider Patočka’s concept of the movement of existence in its contribution to understanding history. Having explained Patočka’s principal ideas regarding the history of the world and the role of Europe in its current crisis, I argue against Patočka’s drawing a firm line between... see more

Thinking Subjectivity Through Mediality

This chapter argues for connecting Patočka’s phenomenological concept of the movement of existence with non-phenomenological approaches to human being in the world. More specifically, I outline the possibility of deepening phenomenology by “fusing” it with an approach which I find akin to it, namely... see more

Appropriating Body

This chapter weighs the importance, or the fundamentality, of the body in Patočka’s phenomenology. After summarizing Patočka’s interpretation of Husserl’s approach to the body, I turn to the mind-body problem as discussed by Patočka in his war manuscripts: analogically to the approach presented in h... see more

Omnia Vincit Amor

This final chapter elucidates Patočka’s absolute emphasis on intersubjectivity, his “localizing” infinity into the relation between “subjects.” After paying attention to Patočka’s early ideas on the relation of a finite being to infinite life, I turn to his late thought focusing on the third movemen... see more

Super-Civilized Existence

At first, this chapter reconstructs Patočka’s interpretation, in the 1950s, of the present world as that of supercivilization. Indicating Patočka’s reasons for not accepting liberalism, I analyse his idea of the solidarity of the shaken as the way out of the crisis and indicate why it is unable to d... see more

Passing Through the World (as) Crisis

In this chapter, I reconsider Patočka’s concept of the movement of existence in its contribution to understanding (the movement of) history. Having explained Patočka’s principal ideas regarding the history of the world and the role of Europe in its current crisis, I argue against Patočka’s drawing a... see more

Thinking (A)Subjectivity Through Mediality

This chapter argues for connecting Patočka’s phenomenological concept of the movement of existence with non-phenomenological approaches to human being in the world. More specifically, I outline the possibility of deepening phenomenology by “fusing” it with an approach which I find akin to it, namely... see more

Performing the Soul Through Movement

In this chapter, I elaborate on Patočka’s concept of the care of the soul. Starting from Patočka’s affirmative presentation of Aristotle’s criticism of Plato, I question the Platonic idea of caring of the soul and develop an alternative notion, putting emphasis on action in the world. Connecting the... see more

(Dis)Appropriating (the) Body

This chapter weighs the importance, or the fundamentality, of the body in Patočka’s phenomenology. After summarizing Patočka’s interpretation of Husserl’s approach to the body, I turn to the mind-body problem as discussed by Patočka in his war manuscripts: analogically to the approach presented in h... see more

Asubjective Phenomenology

In the first part of this chapter, I focus on how Patočka’s late phenomenology drew inspiration from Husserl, Heidegger, Fink, and Merleau-Ponty, insofar as these thinkers can be connected with different ideas of how phenomenology shall proceed and what is it capable of. Making use of this survey, I... see more

Movement of Existence

In this chapter, I explicate fundamental elements of Patočka’s concept of the movement of existence. After introducing Patočka’s project to renew the ontological concept of movement, I reconstruct his description of subjective movement to outline the structure of the world of a existence. I focus on... see more

At the Heart of Space

In this chapter, I interpret the long study “Space and its Problematics,” in which Patočka offers another explication of the lifeworld. He clarifies space, or the lifeworld, by describing human being inside, while this being inside is transcendentally determined by the so-called law of personal pron... see more

Call of Transcendence

In “Negative Platonism” Patočka decidedly separates the philosophy of existence from humanism, yet he grounds philosophy in the analysis of existence demonstrating “the experience we are,” or the experience of freedom, as the fundament of metaphysics. According to Patočka, the topics and issues trad... see more

Basically Negative Being in the World

The chapter analyses Patočka’s book-length study Eternity and Historicity from the middle of the 1940s, which offers an interestingly contextualized polemics with Husserl’s phenomenology while developing an important concept of the dialectic of appearing. This dialectic implies a quite fundamental t... see more

Life of Inwardness

This chapter identifies asubjective elements in manuscripts written by Patočka in the first half of the 1940s. After explicating the key concept of inwardness, with which Patočka substitutes Husserl’s notion of the ego, I elucidate the world-disclosing performance of inwardness as irreducible to wor... see more

Hubris of Transcendental Idealism

Patočka’s phenomenology, as presented in The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem, creatively transforms Husserl’s concept of Lebenswelt. The chapter demonstrates the originality of Patočka’s approach. I summarize Patočka’s analysis of the natural world to focus on the concept of transcendental ... see more

Seeking Evidence

In this chapter, I explicate how Patočka’s early concept of phenomenology, as presented in his dissertation, was inspired by Husserl. I clarify why Husserl’s phenomenology was attractive for Patočka: Phenomenology as a transcendental theory of experience discovers conditions of the possibility of al... see more

Introduction

This introductory chapter explains why I find a comprehensive, in-depth, and critical presentation of Patočka’s phenomenology in English to be a missing but indeed necessary addition to the scholarly literature on Patočka. In the first half of the book, I seek to provide a succinct reconstruction of... see more

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Martin Ritter
Czech Academy of Sciences

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