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I argue that Jan Patočka’s phenomenology can be understood as a kind of questioning philosophy that preserves the work and thought of Edmund Husserl by holding it in hindsight. Following Martin Heidegger’s lead to take up Husserl’s phenomenological questions more than Husserl’s answers, Patočka further develops Heidegger’s strategy with the addition of heresy: the philosophical process of distinguishing traditional questions from their answers in such a way as to preserve both, the original wonder sourced in questioning as well as the specific answers that compose tradition. As excellent answers can tend to eclipse the powerful dynamism of original questions, heretical philosophy is revealed to be Patočka’s way to take up, modify, and enact Husserl’s motto “to the [questions] themselves!” In this way, Patočka’s further develops phenomenology while at the same time throwing a thinker back onto phenomenology’s central questions.
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
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DOI 10.1080/00071773.2017.1387685
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