The Hubris of Transcendental Idealism: Understanding Patočka's Early Concept of the Lifeworld

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 49 (2):171-181 (2018)
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Abstract

Jan Patočka’s early phenomenology, as presented in The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem, does not merely adopt Husserl’s concept of the lifeworld. The paper demonstrates the originality of Patočka’s appropriation of this concept, but also its internal tensions and difficulties. Seeking to elaborate a concept of a phenomenology allowing for a theory of the lifeworld stricto sensu, i.e. of the life of the world, Patočka’s book effectively shows that there is no ahistorical, absolute or “natural” starting point for phenomenology. Truth, as approachable through phenomenology, is not given, but must rather be developed. Elaborating on the concept of transcendental idealism, Patočka’s early phenomenology thus suggests a vivid idea of “intermeshing” monads ontologically grounding the world.

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Martin Ritter
Czech Academy of Sciences

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The natural world as a philosophical problem.Jan Patočka - 2016 - Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. Edited by Ivan Chvatík, Lubica Učník, Erika Abrams & Ludwig Landgrebe.

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