In this paper we seek to take notice of the evolution and continuity of Jan Patočka’s phenomenology on the topic of the world and human existence’s relationship with it. We believe that this problem underlies and stimulates Patočka’s whole phenomenological research and we think that it is a key element to understand the ensemble of his thought.
In his Education of a Christian Prince Erasmus applies ancient and Christian virtues to the functions of a Christian prince. Slovak humanist writer Ján Milo- chovský , who new Erasmus’s work, expanded in his Ornamentum Magistratus Politici the scope of the ethical and moral functions of a prince, focusing on three fundamental virtues: piety, justice and tolerance.The paper offers an analysis of Erasmus’s political ethics and examines the impact of the latter on the Slovak humanism of the second half of (...) the 17th century, especially in the writings of Ján Milochovský. (shrink)
Jan Patočka became politically active for the first time as a spokesperson of the dissident movement Charter 77. In this capacity he wrote several essays, the first of which, entitled "On the Matters of The Plastic People of the Universe and DG 307", I interpret as the explanation and justification of his turn toward political engagement. The following article is a reading of Patočka's essay that pays particular attention to a peculiar formal feature of the essay – namely that it's (...) presented as a reversal of Dostoevsky's short story "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man". In reversing this story, Patočka shows us the two basic ways of human life and explains his political engagement as an action taken on behalf of the properly human way of life, which he calls "life in truth" or "the responsible life". The purpose of his political engagement thus wasn't defending human rights, but defending life in truth, to which human rights provide suitable conditions. "On the Matters…" also presents Patočka's assessment of the Communist regime with clarity and severity not seen elsewhere in his writings, and shows a shift in his views of youth and youthful rebellion. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 273 - 306 Jan Dullaert was a direct student of John Mair and a teacher of Gaspar Lax, Juan de Celaya, and Juan Luis Vives. His commentary on Aristotle’s _Peri Hermeneias_ addresses the foundations of propositional logic, including a detailed analysis of conditionals and the semantics of logical connectives. Dullaert’s propositional logic is limited to the immediate implications of the semantics of these connectives, i.e., their introduction and elimination rules. In the same context, (...) he discusses several alternative treatments of semantic paradoxes, paying most attention to the approaches derived from Martin Le Maistre and John Mair. (shrink)
In his Education of a Christian Prince (1516) Erasmus applies ancient and Christian virtues to the functions of a Christian prince. Slovak humanist Ján Milochovský (1630 – 1684), who new Erasmus’s work, expanded in his Ornamentum Magistratus Politici (1678) the scope of the ethical and moral functions of a prince, focusing on three fundamental virtues: piety, justice and tolerance. The paper offers an analysis of Erasmus’s political ethics and examines the impact of the latter on the Slovak humanism of the (...) second half of the 17th century, especially in the writings of Ján Milochovský. (shrink)
This article attempts to bring together the life, situation, and philosophical work of the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka in order to present his conception of philosophy and sacrifice and to understand his action of dissent and his own sacrifice as spokesman for Charter 77 in light of these concepts. Patočka philosophized despite being barred from teaching under the German occupation and under the communist regime, even after he was forced to retire and banned from publication. He also refused the official (...) philosophical categories of communism and, what is more, criticized the very manner in which its ideology allowed it to function. Against the destruction of moral and political life by communist and liberal regimes alike, he outlined the necessity of a “life in the idea” that would be responsive to the notion of sacrifice. Such a position of distance from the things of the world which remains anchored among them is meant to respond to dissatisfaction with the world as it is found and is the very movement of human freedom. Taken together, these three aspects of his philosophical practice made him a dissident, a role he took on more completely when, as part of the Charter 77 movement, he publicly opposed the state, in a course of action that led to his death. (shrink)
This response to the articles of Luzzati and Broekman (in this issue) addresses principally the character of early rabbinic legal interpretation, as viewed by the Rabbis themselves. It considers, with examples, their concept of "simple meaning'' (peshat), its place within their overall hermeneutic system and its theological presuppositions. The second section responds more briefly to thetheoretical critiques of Luzzati and Broekman, stressing that (my version of) semiotics is descriptive rather than normative; resists the reduction of textual meaning to interpretation; and (...) refuses to equate decision-making with justification. (shrink)
To get distracted, to enclose and to give oneself. The Gesture of Transcendence in Jan Patočka The problem of transcendence can be traced throughout the whole work of Jan Patočka. The appeal to transcend our bonds to mere objectivity is a constant issue of his thought. It finds a new substantiation in the 1960s in his studies focusing on the meaning of the other as human being. The relation to the other person offers a special "occasion" or "place" of transcendence (...) and poses the challenge to transcend one's own particular setting. While in the mid-1960s Patočka maintains his earlier dramatic vocabulary to describe the process of transcendence, in the late 1960s his idiom becomes less vehement. Yet, it is precisely within this more "sober" framework that he symbolizes the process of transcendence with an emphatic turn to a "myth of the divine man" and its key metaphor of resurrection. To transcend means, for Patočka, always to liberate oneself from a state of self-distraction between things. However, in his late lectures, he briefly refers to a deeper layer, suggesting that this self-distraction has its "roots" in a self-enclosure or self-isolation, in the exclusive concentration on our own interests and in the illusion of our self-sufficiency. Transcendence, then, means to overcome this self-enclosure by means of a self-forgetting love. Are these rarely mentioned "roots" perhaps implicitly present in all Patočka's accounts of transcendence? (shrink)
This paper describes the work of the Polish logician Jan Kalicki (1922?1953). After a biographical introduction, his work on logical matrices and equational logic is appraised. A bibliography of his papers and reviews is also included.
In this article the author attempts to establish whether we can find a “theory of appearance” in the philosophy of Jan Patočka. The “appearance” for Patočka is basically composed of two elements. First there is a “primeval movement” which accounts for an infinite possibility of phenomena. The second element is the relation of this movement with an “addressee”, the subjectivity. If we begin to analyse the unity of these two elements we fundamentally come across three problems: what is it that (...) appears, when appearance presupposes a certain totality of appearance; how does this total appearance come forth; and, finally, is this whole “structure of appearance” taken as a free movement, kept once and for all within the boundaries of phenomenology, which is founded on a precise and positive term of “appearance” — or do we have to stipulate a special “experience” as the starting point of a phenomenology, which accepts the abyssal impossibility to control its frame? (shrink)
By his critical reflections on the crisis of modern civilization, Jan Patočka, phenomenologist of the Other Europe, incarnates the critical consciousness of the phenomenological movement. He was in fact one of the first European philosophers to have emphasized the necessity of abandoning the hitherto Eurocentric propositions of solution to the crisis when he explicitly raised the problems of a “Post-European humanity”. In advocating an understanding of the history of European humanity different from those of Husserl and Heidegger, Patočka directs his (...) philosophical reflections back to sketch a more profound phenomenology of the natural world insufficiently thematized in Husserl and absent in Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit. By virtue of its emphasis on the structural characteristics of movement, of praxis, and of the disclosure of the abyssal nature of human existence and of the original nothingness as the (non-)foundation of the phenomenal world, Patočka’s phenomenology of the natural world constitutes an opening towards the reception of Others and other cultures, in particular that of Chinese Taoist philosophy. (shrink)
This paper presents a short biography of Jan Patočka, as well as biographical data of the author in connection to the life and work of Jan Patočka. The paper describes Patočka’s academic activity at Charles University between 1968 and 1972, how he continued by giving private underground seminars in the dark years of 1972 to 1976, and how his engagement culminated in the dissident movement Charter 77. The author explains how the unofficial underground Patočka Archive was established on the very (...) day of Patočka’s death, even before the terrible events around his funeral. Before the official Patočka Archive was founded on the 1st of January, 1990, many volumes of his works were edited secretly during the period of 1977 to 1989. This made it possible to continue successfully publishing the series of the Complete Works of Jan Patočka after 1990. (shrink)
Reviews : Zygmunt Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity ; Steven Seidman and David G. Wagner , Postmodernism and Social Theory ; Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Wa ters, Postmodernization: Change in Advanced Society ; Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity—Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture.
Review Essay: A Review of Tom Nairn and Paul James, Global Matrix: Nationalism, Globalism and State-Terrorism ; Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization or Empire? ; Patrick Hayden and Chamsy el-Ojeili , Confronting Globalization: Humanity, Justice and the Renewal of Politics.
This essay explores connections between bacteriology and the disciplinary evolution of biochemistry in this country during the 1930s. Many features of intermediary metabolism, a central component of biochemistry, originated as attempts to answer fundamental bacteriological questions. Thus, many bacteriologists altered their research programs to answer these questions. In so doing they changed their disciplinary focus from bacteriology to biochemistry. Chester Hamlin Werkman's (1893-1962) Iowa State career illustrates the research perspective that many bacteriologists adopted. As a junior faculty member in the (...) Bacteriology Department in the late 1920s, Werkman faced a powerful professional dilemma: establishing a research identity that distinguished him from his colleagues with flourishing national and international reputations. His solution was to radically alter his research program from traditional bacteriology to a biochemistry program, which reflected the influence of the Dutch microbiologist/biochemist, Albert Jan Kluyver (1888-1956). Werkman was extremely successful in this career change. His laboratory made significant contributions to biochemistry, and Werkman achieved a notable degree of personal success. His career began in the shadow of his departmental bacteriological colleagues; within a decade he became the department's dominant research figure, as a biochemist. Werkman's personal success, however, had profound consequences for the disciplinary future of bacteriology at Iowa State. (shrink)
This article explores the presence and function of texts by two spokesmen of the Franciscan Observance sub vicaris, namely Giovanni of Capestrano and Jan Brugman, within a religious miscellany most probably used – if not composed – by the Brothers of the Common Life in the house of Lüchtenhof, founded in 1440 in the neighbourhood of Hildesheim, Lower Saxony. The miscellany attests to the influence of these two prominent preachers beyond their religious order and beyond the geographic areas in which (...) they had been active, thus showing the exchange and interconnection between different branches of the so-called Observant movement.The article first describes the... (shrink)
The idea of negative Platonism, first formulated by Jan Patočka in the early 1950s, can be understood as an interpretation of the history of philosophy, with particular reference to its Greek beginnings, as well as a strategy for critical engagement with the metaphysical tradition and a reformulation of central phenomenological themes. Patočka reconstructs the Greek road to metaphysics as a shift from a non-objectifying comprehension of the world as a totality to a quest for systematic knowledge of ultimate reality. In (...) light of this reclaimed background, he then proposes a new reading of Plato: the realm of ideas, separate from empirical reality, becomes a symbol of human freedom, understood as an ability to transcend the world and in so doing grasp it as a totalizing horizon. The concept of freedom thus links a submerged theme of metaphysics to more explicit concerns of contemporary thought. (shrink)
The political engagement of scientists is not necessarily left-wing, and even when it is, it can take widely varying forms. This is illustrated by the specific character of Dutch scientific activism in the 1930s and 40s, which took shape in a society where ‘pillarized’ social divisions were more important than horizontal class structure. This paper examines how, within this context, the Delft physicist Jan Burgers developed a version of scientific politics, built on a philosophy of value-laden science.
This essay had its beginnings in my desire to reexamine the Arnolfini portrait from the perspective of Giovanna Cenami, the demure young woman who stands beside the cloaked and hated man on the fifteenth-century panel in London. Even though she shares the formal prominence with the man in Jan van Eyck’s unprecedented composition, she has been paid scant attention in the literature on the painting. I anticipated, as I began my work that inspection of the female subject of the panel (...) would, of necessity, amend the authoritative count of the Arnolfini portrait that Panofsky first published in 1934. That narrative, which focused on the event portrayed, had been recited to me by my teachers as an example of interpretive truth; I had committed it to memory as a model of our discipline’s search for meaning. I never dreamed back then that it might be “wrong.” Yet, the material I encountered as I pursued my inquiry into Giovanna’s life contradicted Panofsky’s assumptions on several key points; amendment alone would not do. It seemed necessary for me to challenge the venerable interpretation others were starting to question,4 even though two generations of students, including my own, had learned from it all they thought there was to know about “Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait.” 4. See, for example, Peter H. Schabacker, “De Matrimonio ad Morganaticam Conracto: Jan van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini’ Portrait Reconsidered,” Art Quarterly 35 : 375-98, hereafter abbreviated “DM”; Lucy Freeman Sandler, “The Handclasp in the Arnolfini Wedding: A Manuscript Precedent,” Art Bulletin 66 : 488-91, hereafter abbreviated “H”; and Jan Baptist Bedaux, “The Reality of Symbols: The Question of Disguised Symbolism in Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait,” Simiolus 16 : 5-28, hereafter abbreviated “RS.” Linda Seidel, associate professor in the department of art at the University of Chicago, is the author of Songs of Glory , a study of twelfth-century French architectural sculpture. She is currently completing a work on medieval doorway design as an art of entry and pursuing a collaborative project with Michael Camille and Robert Nelson, Medieval Art and Its Audiences. (shrink)
For decades now, the end of metaphysics has been heralded. Engaging with the issue at stake, first, I will present and critically discuss Jan Patočka’s prophetic reflection on the fate of metaphysics after metaphysical philosophy. This will show that the problem is far more complicated and that attempts devoted to overcoming metaphysics often unjustly reduce it. To be able properly address the complexities of the crisis of metaphysics, I will move beyond Patočka and will introduce the agent, which played a (...) decisive role in the history of metaphysics and its development, that is, theology. I will point out that Patočka’s reconsideration of metaphysical thinking via the reinterpretation of the Platonic Idea correlates with the category of faith. Thus, I will argue that ‘a providential marriage’ between Athens and Jerusalem should not be divorced and that, despite numerous attempts to prove the contrary, the alliance of theology metaphysical thinking is unavoidable and even beneficial for both parts. (shrink)
Jan Kavan was one of the most active émigrés who fled Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring. As his mother was British, Kavan settled in London. A devout socialist, he founded the Palach Press Agency and established a smuggling network for circulating banned literature to and from Czechoslovakia. Kavan was also active in the European Nuclear Disarmament movement. On his return to Czechoslovakia in 1990, Kavan held several important posts, including that of foreign minister of (...) the Czech Republic and president of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Based largely on archival documents, this essay sheds light on some of the more controversial aspects of Kavan’s personality, life, and work. (shrink)
In this article Jan Steutel's paper 'Towards a sexual ethics for adolescence' is discussed. It is argued that his dichotomous conception of 'child' versus 'adult' unnecessarily limits his conception of 'adolescence', with unfortunate consequences for the answers to his research questions. Steutel's treatment of 'competences' is discussed, in particular the competences of adolescents, and it is argued that in this respect also Steutel is hindered by his conception of 'adolescence'. His conclusion that a liberal ethics is bound to declare all (...) sexual acts of adolescents morally impermissible goes too far. Some practical-pedagogical, ethical and philosophical issues concerning Steutel's alternative sexual ethics for adolescence are discussed. The article concludes with a modest attempt to supplement a liberal sexual ethics for adolescents. (shrink)
An introduction to an English translation of Jan Mukařovský´s lecture The Semiology of Art. In this lecture Mukařovský, a Czech aesthetician, literary historian, theorist, and leading proponent of Czech structuralism, develops his interpretation of the semiotics of art from a detailed explanation of the basic functions of the artistic sign. He emphasizes the role of the aesthetic function, which is dominant but latently and potentially contained in all the other functions of the linguistic and the artistic sign. He then defines (...) the artistic sign as the dialectical negation of the communicative sign. (shrink)
Some problems concerning transcendental epistemic arguments are raised on the basis of Jan Srzednicki’s epistemological conception presented in the bookEpistemology after Wittgenstein. Jan Srzednicki’s New Epistemological Perspective by Grażyna Żurkowska. The problem of the cognition immediacy is briefly discussed. The great philosophical importance of many other relevant topics is indicated, i.e. the internal similarity of Jan Srzednicki’s philosophical challenge to the project of Heideggerian hermeneutics or the problem of mutual relations between language and cognition.
Gerda Leber-Hagenau, bekannte österreichische Schriftstellerin und Übersetzerin, widmete ihre Aufmerksamkeit der in Österreich bekannten Persönlichkeit des polnischen Königs. Über Jan III. Sobieski hat eine bedeutende Abhandlung u.a. Otto Forst de Battaglia verfaßt. Gerda Leber-Hagenau verfolgt in ihrem Buch das ehrgeizige Ziel, nicht die militärische Seite des Entsatzes Wiens und den entscheidenden Anteil des polnischen Königs zu zeigen, sondern sie ist bestrebt, die Psyche des Königs auf künstlerische Weise zu gestalten.
As regular readers of The Pluralist are aware, there appeared in 2008 an issue devoted to Jan Olof Bengtsson's The Worldview of Personalism.1 The issue included five articles, each concerned with a different aspect of the book; and after each article, there was a "Reply" by Bengtsson. In what follows, I shall say something about Bengtsson's reply to my own contribution, "Absolute and Personal Idealism." However, first let me briefly describe that article's argument.In "Absolute and Personal Idealism," I examined the (...) personalist attack on absolutism as formulated by Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison in two works: Hegelianism and Personality and The Idea of God in the Light of Recent Philosophy. In the first section of .. (shrink)
The First World War was both an historical and a philosophical event. Philosophers engaged in what Kurt Flasch aptly called "the spiritual mobilization" of philosophy. Max Scheler was particularly important among these "war philosophers", given that he was the one who penned some of the most influential philosophical writings of the First World War, among them Der Genius des Krieges und der Deutsche Krieg. As I aim to show, Max Scheler's war writings were crucial for Jan Patočka's interpretation of the (...) First World War in the sixth of his Heretical Essays. However, the importance of Scheler's war writings goes far beyond the First World War for Patočka, since they offer Patočka a far-reaching interpretation of the 'excessive' character of the 20 th century. As I will show through the example of Max Scheler, the German war philosophers succumbed to a dangerously romantic conception of "force" – and it is this ominous force, which Patočka takes to lie at the root of the increasingly excessive character of the 20 th and 21 st centuries. (shrink)
The paper investigates Jan Srzednicki’s epistemological conception with its main Kantian problem on the very possibility of cognition. Investigating Srzednicki’s conception the paper refers to its interpretation elaborated by Grażyna Żurkowska.
This article analyzes the lectures and texts from the last period of Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, one of the last disciples of Edmund Husserl, the founding father of phenomenology. The point of departure is Patočka’s critical reception of Husserl’s concept of the crisis of European mankind. There are, however, two other elements distinctive of Patočka’s thought essential for this interpretation. First, he was a classical philosopher aiming at Socratic ‘care for the soul’. Second, he approached the theme of universal human (...) history from his own unique historic position: as a Czech philosopher, involved in the Socratic manner primarily with his own Czech national community, for whom the big question of the future of European mankind and its legacy at the end of its golden modern age is inseparably connected with a ‘small’ one: the question of Czech national existence – the question of the future of his nation in a changing world and the issue of its freedom. (shrink)
Le phénoménologue tchèque Jan Pato?ka, auteur d?une phénoménologie asubjective défendant la thèse d?un procès asubjectif de l?apparaître (d?une autonomie du phénomène par rapport à l?ego), a accordé au problème des relations nécessaires et difficiles que la philosophie entretient en son sein même avec la littérature une attention particulière qui l?a conduit à poser les fondements d?une phénoménologie de la littérature centrée autour de l?idée d?un asubjectivisme de l?écrivain. Nous suivrons ici deux axes de réflexion connexes: premièrement, nous montrerons pourquoi et (...) comment Pato?ka restaure le vocabulaire et la vision de l?homme propres au mythe et reprend ce qu?il aperçoit comme le fondement de la tragédie pour élaborer une nouvelle compréhension du phénomène de l?existence comme mouvement. Deuxièmement, nous décrirons le rôle que joue l?écrivain moderne à une époque marquée par la fragmentation de la vie. Car l?écrivain qui édifie une ?littérature métaphysique? a le privilège, selon Pato?ka, d?être ?l?administrateur propre et originel de l?intégralité de la vie et de la totalité universelle?, il est ainsi une sorte de ?quasi-phénoménologue? dont la philosophie ne peut se passer si elle veut saisir ces phénomènes qui, sans être purement et simplement subjectifs, ne peuvent néanmoins être réduits à l?objectivité du concept. (shrink)
The fundamental problem of Jan Srzednicki’s new epistemology is the question: how thoughts surpass the resistance of that what is ontologically present, how this process is possible? In Srzednicki’s opinion, thinking is a process of distancing from the pressure of ontological presence. His ideas offer a splendid inspiration for philosophy of medicine which attempts to answer the question “whether (and how) a disease is cognizable?” This question refers directly to and is translated into the question of the capacity to diagnose (...) particular diseases. Answering to the above stated question whether disease is cognizable we should answer in the affirmative, however, in a “modified” form that its pre-cognitive resistance to reality is formed at the articulated level. Somewhat intuitively we feel the presence of a disease before we express it in words as a disease according to our scientific or informal thought style. (shrink)
A critical review of Jan Marejko’s Le territoire métaphysique (1989), showing how this work proposes, on an anthropological and historical ground, a general interpretation of the moral and political condition of modern man.
Organized around the central concept of struggle, this paper is an introduction to the later thought of the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka (1907–1977), with attention to the circumstances of his life. The first section of the paper presents Patočka’s description of the “three movements” of human existence, with emphasis upon the second, the movement of defense, work, and survival. The second section examines his later conception of philosophy, where he reprised elements of classical Greek thought (the Heraclitean notion of polemos (...) and the Socratic notion of “care of the soul”) for their relevance in the modern world. (shrink)