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(2016) Phenomenology and intercultural understanding, Dordrecht, Springer.

Jan Patočka

critical consciousness and non-eurocentric philosopher of the phenomenological movement

Kwok-Ying Lau

pp. 67-83

This chapter constitutes a preliminary and humble attempt to answer the following question: How to make sense of the vast number of Patočka's writings, themselves dispersed in most cases in the apparently modest form of exegetic exercises on works of classical thinkers, ancient (e.g., Plato, Aristotle) or contemporary (Husserl, Heidegger)? The reply we risk to propose is: Patočka's reflections represent perhaps one of the most fruitful philosophical endeavors within the wider phenomenological movement to confront the crisis of modern civilization which Patočka calls "Over-civilization and its internal conflict". Recapturing and renewing in a new direction Husserl's diagnosis of the crisis of European civilization, Patočka was one of the first European philosophers—a philosopher of the Other Europe—to have emphasized with lucidity the necessity of abandoning the hitherto Eurocentric propositions of solution to the crisis—for example Comte's positivism and its variants, Marxism and bourgeois liberalism—when he explicitly raised the problems of a "Post-European humanity". In advocating an understanding of the history of European humanity which is different from Husserl as well as Heidegger, Patočka is able to direct his philosophical reflections on history back to the formulation of a more profound phenomenology of the natural world insufficiently thematized in Husserl and absent in Heidegger (at least the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit).

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-44764-3_5

Full citation:

Lau, K.-Y. (2016). Jan Patočka: critical consciousness and non-eurocentric philosopher of the phenomenological movement, in Phenomenology and intercultural understanding, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 67-83.

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