Patocka's asubjective phenomenology
Toward a new concept of human rights
For a reader versed in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political philosophy, the Czech philosopher, Jan Patočka, appears as a paradoxical figure. A champion of human rights, he seems to present himself and his philosophy in quite traditional terms. He speaks of the "soul," its "care," and of "living in truth." Such concepts are combined with his insistence on the unconditional character of morality. Yet, in his proposal for an "asubjective" phenomenology, he undermines the traditional conceptions of the subjectof such rights. In fact, what Patočka forged in the last years of his life was a new conception of human being, one that finds its origins as much in Aristotle as in the phenomenological tradition. This book traces the influence of Husserl, Heidegger, and Aristotle, among others, on the development of Patočka's thought. It shows how the confluence of these influences led Patočka to redefine, not just phenomenology, but also the basic terms in which the debates on human rights have traditionally been cast.
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