AUC INTERPRETATIONES
AUC INTERPRETATIONES
AUC Interpretationes (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Interpretationes Studia Philosophica Europeanea) is a philosophical journal focusing on 20th-century European philosophy, particularly French and German philosophy, and phenomenology.

AUC INTERPRETATIONES, Vol 7 No 1 (2017), 102–116

Patočka’s Transformation of Phenomenology

James Mensch

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/24646504.2018.8
announced: 30. 05. 2018

abstract

At first glance the conjunction of phenomenology and practice seems to be a contradiction in terms. Husserl’s phenomenology is informed by the exercise of the epoché, where we suspend every thesis that we have regarding the natural world. The result, Husserl declares, is that the epoché “utterly closes off for me every judgment about spatiotemporal existence.” Its focus is not on such existence, but on the evidence we have for it. Does this mean that phenomenology is forever shut off from the realm of praxis – that it cannot concern itself with the ethical and political issues that confront us? For Patočka, this conclusion fails to take account of the freedom presupposed by the epoché. Such freedom, he writes, is “grounded in our inherent freedom to step back, to dissociate ourselves from entities.” It is not the result of some act of consciousness. It is, rather, our ontological condition, it is “what characterizes humans as such.” If this is true, then the practice of the epoché actually opens up phenomenology to practical questions. If the epoché presupposes our freedom – the freedom that is at issue in such questions – then the epoché also presupposes the engagement – the being-in-the-world – of our praxis. It does not suspend this engagement, but rather discloses it – this, by showing that freedom is the ultimate residuum left by the epoché. The thesis of my paper is that this insight allows Patočka to transform Husserlian phenomenology. In his hands, phenomenology conjoins the epistemological with the practical by seeing them both in terms of the freedom definitive of us. By examining what Patočka calls “the motion of human existence,” I delineate the nature of this transformation.

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Patočka’s Transformation of Phenomenology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

148 x 210 mm
published: 2 x per year
print price: 180 czk
ISSN: 1804-624X
E-ISSN: 2464-6504

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