Darian Meacham & Francesco Tava on Jan Patočka’s phenomenology

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‘Epoché and institution: the fundamental tension in Jan Patočka’s phenomenology’ in Studies in East European Thought (Springer Open Access: 2020).

Epoché and institution: the fundamental tension in Jan Patočka’s phenomenology
Darian Meacham & Francesco Tava
Studies in East European Thought (2020)

Open Access | Published: 07 December 2020

This article examines the relation between two key, but seemingly opposed concepts in Jan Patočka’s thought: epoché and the concrete institutional polis. In doing so it attempts to elucidate the inextricable relation between phenomenology and politics in the work of the Czech philosopher, and illustrate more broadly the possibilities for approaching the political from a phenomenological perspective. The article provides a phenomenological interpretation of “care for the soul” as closely linked to Patočka’s reformulation of the core phenomenological notion of epoché. It argues that in Patočka’s work, the epoché, traditionally conceived as a radical stepping back from the world must be rendered differently, not only as a negative freedom, but as the foundation of positive politics. Thus, the authors argue that there is a thematic and conceptual continuity between Patočka’s phenomenological studies and his political work.

Open access: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11212-020-09398-8