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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches the trajectory of Jan Patočka’s philosophical development against the background of the conflicts and crises that marked the history of the twentieth century, and which profoundly affected the Czech philosopher. The relevant period spans from the 1930s, when Patočka studied under Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, to the philosopher’s activities as a dissident in 1970s Czechoslovakia. Particular attention is paid to Patočka’s deep reading of the history of philosophy; the complexities of his appropriation of the phenomenological philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger; and the philosophy of history developed late in his career. The chapter ends with a consideration of Patočka’s influence on contemporary phenomenological philosophy, suggesting that his most promising contribution lies in his challenging engagement with the problem of Europe, above all his call for a post-European philosophical perspective.

Keywords: Patočka, Czech philosophy, phenomenology, philosophy of history, Europe

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