Wars of the Twentieth (and Twenty-First) Century and the Twentieth (and Twenty-First) Century as War: Jan Patočka on Sacrifice and the Crisis of Europe’s ‘Supercivilization’

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Title: Wars of the Twentieth (and Twenty-First) Century and the Twentieth (and Twenty-First) Century as War: Jan Patočka on Sacrifice and the Crisis of Europe’s ‘Supercivilization’
Author: Maggini, Golfo
Publisher: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2013-11-19
Language: en
Belongs to series: COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 14
ISBN: 978-952-10-9545-0
ISSN: 1796-2986
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/41994
Abstract: In one of his conference lectures of the mid-1970s, the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patocka talked about twentieth-century Europe’s destiny of World Wars as one of the endless unleashing of forces. Patocka offers one of the most insightful analyses of contemporary Europe’s intellectual destiny, tightly connected to technological domination and control. His extensive analysis in the field of a phenomenological philosophy of history evolves around the notions of ‘crisis’, under the influence of the later Husserl, the Janus face of the Western, most prominently European ‘supercivilization’ and the urgent need for a redefinition of European humanity. A key notion for the latter, introduced by Patocka in many instances in his phenomenological studies, is that of sacrifice. Patocka resists the inauthentic understanding of sacrifice by means of exchange, which according to him still reflects the objectifying tendency inherent in Europe’s techno-scientific orientation. He then proposes an authentic sense of sacrifice which is not prone to the criteria of calculability and effectiveness. He also incorporates his critique of European crisis and decline into the wider context of his phenomenological anthropology, which completely transforms Husserl’s theme of the Lebenswelt in an ethico-political direction. It is within this larger context that his diagnosis of Europe’s crisis also meets his argument for ’solidarity of the shattered’, which can reiterate the most promising chapters of Europe’s spiritual history. How is Patocka’s philosophical discourse to be related to today’s situation of tension and conflict in Europe? There is a widespread, yet not fully determined in its origins and conceptual clarity, public discourse on crisis accompanied by an equally pressing discourse on self-sacrifice or even sacrifice for the future generations of our continent. Are those public discourses valid when judged by their historical truth? In fact, Patocka’s phenomenological insights make us doubt the overly-general and context-insensitive justification of those discourses.
Subject: Patocka
European economic crisis
Subject (ysa): fenomenologia
Rights: © Maggini 2013

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