Article/Publication Details

Spiritual Man and „Possessors of Reason“ (The 100th Birthday Anniversary of Jan Patočka)

(Original title: Duchovní člověk a „majitelé rozumu“ (Ke 100. výročí narození Jana Patočky))
Filozofia, 2007, vol. 62, No 6, pp. 487-496.
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Abstract

The paper deals with several aspects of Patočka’s reflections on the role and mission of intellectuals in times, when science becomes „the central productive power“ and when the self-identifications of philosophy and philosophers become necessary. These requirements are due to various past and present „shakes“ (e.g. the extraordinary experience of participating in the World war I), which make the sense of human life problematic. According to the author, there is no unambiguous answer to the question: How the intellectual as a „possessor of reason“ is related to the intellectual as a „spiritual being“? In the first term he finds Kantian motifs working (especially differentia-ting between „Vernunft“ and „Verstand“); as for the second term, which is a more emphatic expression of distancing oneself from the obviousness of the facticity, the motifs are Platonic. In the author’s view by his engagement in the Charta 77 movement Patočka has overcome „Heraclitean-Platonic“ distance between a philosopher and his townsmen, and incorporated his general principles into the postulates with strong moral accent.

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