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Confronting Totalitarian Minds: Jan Patočka on Politics and Dissidence

Confronting Totalitarian Minds: Jan Patočka on Politics and Dissidence

Brinton, Aspen E.

subjects: philosophy

paperback, 300 pp., 1. edition
published: may 2021
ISBN: 978-80-246-4537-7
recommended price: 370 czk



The Czech philosopher Jan Patocka not only witnessed some of the most turbulent politics of twentieth-century Central Europe, but shaped his philosophy in response to that tumult. One of the last students of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, he inspired Václav Havel and other dissidents who confronted the Communist regime before 1989, as well as being actively involved in authoring and enacting Charter 77.

He died in 1977 from medical complications resulting from interrogations of the secret police. Confronting Totalitarian Minds examines his legacy along with several contemporary applications of his ideas about dissidence, solidarity, and the human being’s existential confrontation with unjust politics. Expanding the current possibilities of comparative political theory, the author puts Patocka’s ideas about dissidence, citizen mobilization, and civic responsibility into conversation with notable world historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Vaclav Havel, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and other contemporary activists. In adding a fresh voice to contemporary conversations on transcending injustice, Confronting Totalitarian Minds seeks to educate a wider audience about this philosopher’s continued relevance to political dissidents across the world.