Body, Community, Language, World

Body, Community, Language, World

Body, Community, Language, World

Body, Community, Language, World

Synopsis

Patocka, like few others before or since, combined what was best in Husserl and Heidegger, but at the same time found for himself a distinct, original philosophical voice. Both his originality and his synthesis of the two dominant strands of classical phenomenology are evident here, as Patocka pursues the threefold theme of subject body, human community, and the phenomenological understanding of "world." This volume is an excellent introduction to philosophy in the phenomenological tradition.

Excerpt

These lectures document an attempt on the part of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka to present phenomenology to his listeners as a living tradition—that is, as a philosophical heritage that carries with it an imperative to be rethought, its course and [program] redirected in light of possibilities that it has itself uncovered. As such they represent a double achievement: on the one hand, a profound appraisal of the work of Husserl and Heidegger, not only in terms of an assessment of texts and ideas, but also of the guiding philosophical insights that animate their writings, their respective paths of thinking. On the other hand, the [philosophy of movement] developed in the final lectures in this volume is Patočka at his most original, setting criticism and appraisal aside and offering his listeners an inspired description of the ontological structures of human life, of its dimensions of selfrelation and worldliness. Here Patočka is showing us what he believed had been heretofore neglected in phenomenology, but which nevertheless remains an inherent potential for this type of reflection: the possibility of articulating a way of understanding ourselves, [theoretical] to be sure, but which nevertheless acknowledges the fundamental significance of our situatedness as finite beings, the rhythms of existence that permeate us even as creatures who re-create themselves, who reflect and who understand.

This double achievement at the same time poses a double challenge to the reader, as it must have to his listeners. The first challenge is to understand the complicated interweaving of reflections inspired here by Husserl, there by Heidegger, and to recognize that Patočka is not a straightforward proponent of the positions of either. The second challenge is to see in what way Patočka's assessment and appropriation of Husserl and Heidegger . . .

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