Caring for the Soul in a Postmodern Age: Politics and by Edward F. Findlay

By Edward F. Findlay

The 1st complete exploration of the political considered Jan Patocka, pupil of Husserl and Heidegger and mentor of Vaclav Havel.

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Additional resources for Caring for the Soul in a Postmodern Age: Politics and Phenomenology in the Thought of Jan Patocka

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33 Patocˇka’s approach to philosophy is not primarily a method. It is rather a thematic attempt to clarify its experiential essence. Phenomenology as Patocˇka pursues it is a means to place distance between the art of human self-reflection and the metaphysical baggage that has accumulated around philosophy as practiced in Europe for more than two thousand years. This interpretation, which rejects the subjective element of Husserl’s work and instead pursues problems related to the corporeality of the body and the “movements” of human beings within the world, is less an abstract theoretical venture than an application of theoretical insight to the concreteness of human experience.

Other Heideggerean themes figuring in Patocˇka’s philosophy include the question of the essence of technology—directly related to the dominance of metaphysics over Western civilization—and the Heraclitian notion of Caring Chap. 2 6/27/02 4:13 PM Page 39 “Concrete Humans in Their Corporeal World” 39 conflict, or polemos, as not only a unifying factor in human existence, but one with a certain ontological priority. With each of these themes, Patocˇka draws directly on Heidegger. Yet in each case, the emphasis and application is distinctly different, pointing to a political philosophy that is primarily concerned with being human, not in existential abstraction, but in the concrete context of life with other beings, life in community.

41 In effect, then, we are able to perceive more than is actually present before us. Patocˇka describes this experience when he notes that “far more is present to me as real than what is actually given: whatever stands in some relation to the self-given is also actual. ”42 For Patocˇka, significantly, the perception of things “beyond our senses” is not an abstraction. Such things are also experiential, they are actual. We are not limited, in our ability to perceive reality, to what is directly given.

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