Jan Patočka, perhaps more so than any other philosopher in the twentieth century, managed to combine intense philosophical insight with a farsighted analysis of the idea and challenges facing Europe as a historical, cultural and political signifier. As a political dissident in communist Czechoslovakia he also became a moral and political inspiration to a generation of Czechs, including Václav Havel. He accomplished this in a time of intense political repression when not even the hint of a unified Europe seemed visible by showing in exemplary fashion how concrete thought can be without renouncing in any way its depth.
Europe as an idea and a political project is a central issue in contemporary political theory. Patočka’s political thought offers many original insights into questions surrounding the European project. Here, for the first time, a group of leading scholars from different disciplines gathers together to discuss the specific political impact of Patočka’s philosophy and its lasting significance.
Part I: Intellectuals and Opposition
Jan Patočka / 3. Appendix / Part II: Dissidence and Political Commitment / 4. Jan Patočka and the Possibility of a Spiritual Politics, Ivan Chvatík / 5. Resisting Fear: On Dissent and the Solidarity of the Shaken in Contemporary European and Global Society, Jiri Příbáň / 6. The Soul as Site of Dissidence, Simona Forti / Part III: Political Phenomenology / 7. Polemos in Jan Patočka’s Political Thought, James Dodd / 8. Supercivilisation and Biologism, Darian Meacham / 9. Caring for the Asubjective Soul, James Mensch / Part IV: Philosophy of History / 10. He Who Saw the Deep: The Epic of Gilgamesh in Patočka’s Philosophy of History, Nicolas De Warren / 11. The Dark Night of the Care for the Soul – Politics and Despair in Jan Patočka’s Sixth Heretical Essay, Daniel Leufer / 12. The Heresy of History: Patočka’s Reflections on Marx and Marxism, Francesco Tava / 13. The End of History and After: Rethinking Kojève and Patočka on the Idea of Post-History, Riccardo Paparusso / Part V: Rethinking the Community / 14. On the Significance of the Ancient Greek Polis for Patočka and Castoriadis: Philosophy, Politics, History, Suzi Adams / 15. Patočka’s Radical and Agonistic Politics, Tamara Caraus / 16. Patočka's Figures of Political Community, Marion Bernard / 17. This is a Mathematical Certainty: Patočka and the Neoliberal Ideology, Ľubica Učník / Part VI: Europe and Post-Europe / 18. Europe, Post-Europe and Eurocentrism, Karel Novotný / 19. Europe and the Oblivion of the World: From Husserl to Patočka, Ovidiu Stanciu / 20. Europe’s Twentieth Century: History of Wars and War as History, Ludger Hagedorn / Bibliography / Index
More than any other volume, Thinking after Europe demonstrates the philosophical and political relevance of Patočka. Not only does it include two new texts written by Patočka, it also presents new essays on Patočka written by the best scholars. Thinking after Europe runs through political dissidence to political phenomenology, to the philosophy of history, and the rethinking of community – in order to arrive at the very question of Europe. This is an immensely valuable collection.
Thinking after Europe makes important contributions to both phenomenology and political philosophy. Exploring the neglected political dimensions of Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology, these essays show how its grounding in a provocative rethinking of human historicity affords productive new philosophical resources for engaging critically with vital issues of global significance. With phenomenology at a methodological crossroads and enlightened political thought prone to naïve optimism or undue pessimism, this stimulating reconsideration of Patočka’s ‘heretical’ project is timely and very welcome indeed.
Even if the problem of the political, in all its dimensions, was always at the centre of Patočka’s work, it has never before been the object of an exhaustive and profound study. This book, edited by Francesco Tava and Darian Meacham, changes that. For Patočka the question of the political is inseparable from phenomenology itself. This is clear across his theory of the three movements of human existence, but also in the themes of community, dissidence, history, and finally the meaning and current situation of of Europe. This book takes on all these questions in a rigorous, lucid, and profound fashion. It is an indispensable reference for anyone interested in Patočka’s work.
Francesco Tava is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Husserl-Archives: Centre for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy at the KU Leuven, Belgium. He is the author of The Risk of Freedom (2015).
Darian Meacham is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of the West of England. He is the editor of Medicine and Society: New Perspectives in Continental Philosophy (2015).
Suzi Adams, Senior Lecturer, Flinders University of South Australia; Marion Bernard, Postdoctoral Scholar, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Tamara Caraus, Postdoctoral Scholar, New Europe College‐Bucarest; Ivan Chvatík, Director of the Jan Patočka Archive, Prague; James Dodd, Associate Professor of Philosophy, New School of Social Research; Simona Forti, Professor of Political Philosophy, Università del Piemonte Orientale; Ludger Hagedorn, Professor, IWM Vienna and New York University; Daniel Leufer, Graduate Student, University of Leuven; Giuseppe Menditto, Postdoctoral Scholar, Università di Roma La Sapienza; James Mensch, Professor of Philosophy, Charles University, Prague; Riccardo Paparusso, Lecturer, Angelicum University, Rome; Jiri Priban, Professor, Cardiff University; Teresa Pullano, Postdoctoral Scholar, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Ovidiu Stanciu, Graduate Student, Bergische Universität Wuppertal; Michael Staudigl, Senior Lecturer, University of Vienna; Lubica Učník, Senior Lecturer, Murdoch University, Australia; Nicolas De Warren, Professor, University of Leuven