Patočka’s Care of the Soul Reconsidered: Performing the Soul Through Movement

Human Studies 40 (2):233-247 (2017)
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Care of the soul is arguably the core concept in Patočka’s phenomenology. However, what is the soul? In this paper I seek to determine its ontological meaning, connecting the concept of caring for the soul with that of the movement of existence. Starting from Patočka’s affirmative presentation of Aristotle’s criticism of Plato, I interrogate the “orthodox” Platonic concept of caring for the soul and develop an alternative notion, putting emphasis on action in the world. I demonstrate the impossibility of identifying the third movement with true existence, or with the care for the soul, whether conceived as the performance of philosophy or as political action. Finally, I outline a reinterpreted concept of care for the soul in which the self-moving of the soul is not ontologically prior to responding. The soul is inherent in action; and it is free only as responding to the world and responsible only in being free.



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Martin Ritter
Czech Academy of Sciences

Citations of this work

From care for the soul to the theory of the state in Jan Patočka.Lorenzo Girardi - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 81 (3):196-210.
Things as Pragmata.Ondřej Švec - 2022 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 14 (2).

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