By Edward F. Findlay
The 1st complete exploration of the political considered Jan Patocka, scholar of Husserl and Heidegger and mentor of Vaclav Havel.
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Extra info for Caring for the Soul in a Postmodern Age: Politics and Phenomenology in the Thought of Jan Patocka
To the contrary, they point to our living, not in ourselves, but among things—they point toward our living in the world. ”54 With his explication of human consciousness as horizonal, of humans as beings that project outward from themselves into the world and its possibilities, Patocˇka begins to sketch out his revision of phenomenology. Already the direction of this revision is clear. It is toward the concrete and experiential elements of human life and action in concreto, in the world. The thrust of Patocˇka’s critique is to suggest that philosophy, if it hopes to remain consistent with experience, cannot avoid the fundamental situatedness of humans within a concrete world and, as we shall see, a concrete community.
We live in the world by engaging with it, by involving ourselves and by realizing our possibilities through our actions. “We realize possibili- Caring Chap. 2 6/27/02 4:13 PM Page 43 “Concrete Humans in Their Corporeal World” 43 ties only by moving, by being physical. ”108 This understanding of human movement is not of something that we carry out, that we choose to do when it suits us. It is rather that we are movement, it defines us in the world. ”109 Patocˇka takes the Aristotelian conception of life as movement and the realization of potential as his starting point and inspiration, but he does not accept it unqualifiedly.
Husserl’s approach to philosophy, which sought a “postulate of philosophy as an absolutely apodictic science,”27 revealed that his conception of rationality, or reason, was determined not so much by the Greek understanding of reason to which he appealed—expressed in the differentiation of the concept of “intelligence,” or nous28—but by a more modern, Cartesian vision of reason and knowledge. Patocˇka knew that reason did not lead to apodicticity, to certainty, and so he took over Husserl’s goal by shifting the direction of its inquiry.
Caring for the Soul in a Postmodern Age: Politics and Phenomenology in the Thought of Jan Patocka by Edward F. Findlay