Zur geschichte und gegenwärtigen lage der philosophie in der ČSR

Studies in East European Thought 42 (3):253-258 (1991)
Official Czech philosophy has been dominated by a mix of Engelsian philosophy of science and positivism, a combination explained in part by the survival of positivism in Czechoslovakia and the failure of analytic philosophy to make inroads into Czech thinking. However, due to Jan Patoka''s influence in espousing the works of Husserl and Heidegger, there was an anthropologically oriented Marxism (K. Kosik) although its successes were greater abroad than in Czechoslovakia. A more neopositivistic variant (L. Tondl) of Marxism also appeared, but it was a short-lived phenomenon without purchase on mainstream philosophy.A certain renewal of Czech philosophy was evident before 1968, once again largely due to Patoka''s influence. Foreign guests who took part in informally organized, often secret, seminars and discussion groups were very instrumental in spreading new ideas. Despite these positive occurrences, Czech philosophy is experiencing a crisis at the level of the middle generation of non-academic, philosophically competent intellectuals among whom sceptical and nihilist attitudes prevail. A rebirth of spirit may be in the offing if the recovery of the specific sense of the Czech Reformation''s idea of truth is pursued.
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