Högskolans skriftserier

Politikens omskakning

Negativitet, samexistens och frihet i Jan Patočkas tänkande

Omslag för Politikens omskakning: Negativitet, samexistens och frihet i Jan Patočkas tänkande

Strandberg, Gustav

The present investigation analyses the political thought of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. It focuses on the question of how we are to understand political life: what are its distinguishing features and how we are to circumscribe it conceptually. According to Patočka the experience of politics is one characterized by a loss of meaning, a loss of a foundation or principle that could lend stability to our lives. It is an experience of a tremor by and through which the foundations of our experience are shaken.

Philosophy’s political task is, however, not to provide any foundation for political life, but rather to address the question of why man is inclined to posit metaphysical foundations and why refuge in ideological principles is sought. Philosophy must instead engage with the groundlessness and negativity permeating human existence as such. In order to provide an analysis of human existence, and how this very groundlessness of existence is exposed in politics, Patočka calls for an “a-subjective phenomenology” that abandons the traditional notion of the subject and of subjectivity. An “a-subjective” phenomenological analysis is central for the present investigation. The author shows that it is only by and through Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology that his political thought can be understood; out of his distinctive phenomenological analyses, the negativity, instability and groundlessness of human existence is brought to the fore. Politically, this negativity manifests itself in two phenomena, which, when taken together, constitute the very bedrock for politics: freedom and human coexistence. Human existence is neither stable nor self-sufficient.  On the contrary, it is always already exposed to others, always already engaged in the self-transcending movement of its freedom. Freedom and coexistence are in this respect two interrelated expressions of the inherent negativity of human existence and two phenomena that, accordingly, occupy a privileged position in this study. The author seeks to show that it is by way of an in-depth analysis of freedom and coexistence that the question of politics can be addressed in the work of Patočka since they give testament to the trembling, unnerving, and disorienting nature of politics.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2017. 358 sidor.

ISBN 978-91-88663-04-7

Serie: Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, 1652-7399 ; 142

Serie: Södertörn Philosophical Studies, 1651-6834 ; 21

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