The Risk of Freedom presents an in-depth analysis of the philosophy of Jan Patočka, one of the most influential Central European thinkers of the twentieth century, examining both the phenomenological and ethical-political aspects of his work. In particular, Francesco Tava takes an original approach to the problem of freedom, which represents a recurring theme in Patočka’s work, both in his early and later writings.
Freedom is conceived of as a difficult and dangerous experience. In his deep analysis of this particular problem, Tava identifies the authentic ethical content of Patočka’s work and clarifies its connections with phenomenology, history of philosophy, politics and dissidence. The Risk of Freedom retraces Patočka’s philosophical journey and elucidates its more problematic and less evident traits, such as his original ethical conception, his political ideals and his direct commitment as a dissident.
Foreword / Note to the English Translation / Key Abbreviations / 1. The Call of Freedom / 2. Risk and Shelter / 3. The Non-Evidence of Reality / 4. Movement, World, History / 5.The Praxis of Dissent / Bibliography / Index
Jan Patocka has been recognized throughout the world for his dissidence and sacrifice as the spokesperson of Charta 77. Yet rarely has the profound rootedness of his political actions in his philosophy been articulated as lucidly as in this book. This is a welcome translation of a significant work on an uncommon and complex thinker of the contemporary human condition.
Francesco Tava offers a strikingly fresh perspective on the thought of Czech philosopher and dissident, Jan Patocka. No longer can phenomenology be understood as unworldy or disengaged, Tava describes a style of thinking that places ethics and politics at the very centre of what it means to be a human subject. Freedom is a risk that we take as worldly, corporeal beings; and it is only in taking this risk that we become truly human. This is important reading for anyone interested in the development of central European philosophy and phenomenology.
This is an insightful book on the complex philosophical and political problem of freedom in the writings of Jan Patočka. Although Patočka’s thinking is often associated with the question of freedom, Tava’s book is the first study that engages the broad spectrum of Patočka’s writings against the backdrop of the phenomenological philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger and Czech writers and thinkers such as Hrabal and Kosík. The book concludes with a significant contribution to the intellectual history of Eastern Europe and a rounded assessment of the political impact of this central figure in 20th-century phenomenological thought.
Francesco Tava is a Postdoctoral Scholar at theHusserl-Archives: Centre for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy at the KU Leuven, Belgium. Since 2011 he has held several research fellowships at the Jan Patočka Archive in Prague.
Jane Ledlie, the translator, holds an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Bristol and is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.