Jan Patočka a Masarykovo pojetí dějin
Jan Patocka and Masaryk's conception of history
Patocka's approach to Masaryk's philosophy of history grew out of his own conception of that philosophical discipline. Patocka took the philosophy of history to be a serious philosophical problem. It was for him, on one hand, the problem of the historicity of man from the objective point of view, while on the other hand it was the problem of the categorical understanding of history from the point of view of subjectivity and thought. According to Patocka, it is necessary to take a critical approach to classical conceptions which worked with metaphysics of history based on the linearity of the temporal, historical continuum; based on the rationality and objectivity of the meaningfulness of historical development; based on understanding of mankind as the subject of history; and based on the idea of historical progress. This does not necessarily mean we must completely discard these conceptions, but it does indicate a defining and restricting of their validity. Patocka's reflections on history are connected with his approach to the problem of the natural world. He is in debt here to Heidegger's concept of openness which, in Patocka's view, founds the life of history and without which history could not persist. It is precisely this openness, however, that brings with it the problematicity of human historical being - the permanent possibility of the collapse of the existing meaning of life. Patocka's reflections on history and historicity culminate in his 'Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History'. His critical objections to Masaryk's conception of history are contained, above all, in the study 'The Attempt at a Czech National Philosophy and its Lack of Success'. Masaryk's conception of the continuity of Czech history had, for Patocka, an instrumental, nationalistic character. Patocka emphasizes the empirical discontinuity of Czech history. But it is where Masaryk meant to make a step towards a real national philosophy and to a truly radical revision of the existing philosophical tradition that, according to Patocka, he succumbed to an objectivistically and naturalistically-orientated Comtian philosophy of history. He arrived at an objective law of development as something eternal, as something which actually has nothing in common with freedom and responsibility, but which is even in contradiction to them. It is for this reason that Masaryk's attempt at a Czech national philosophy, as part of a general philosophy of history, was doomed to failure.
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