Faith in Philosophy: Patočka and the Spiritual Foundation of Europe

    • Cover Conference Prague
    • Presentation speakers
      • Ahmet Kaan Ketboga, University of Cologne, Germany


    “Europe as Europe arose … from … the motif of the care of the soul” (Patočka, 2002, p. 70)

    Jan Patočka is one of the prominent figures of both twentieth-century European philosophy and Czech political history. He was one of the last pupils of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, while at the same time he was one of the original signatories and main spokespersons for the Charter 77 human rights movement in Czechoslovakia. In addition to his influence on youth -one among them was Václav Havel, the first president of Czechia-, he extensively wrote on the concept of Europe. His conception of it was neither solely political, nor geographical. Instead, he emphasized a Europe whose importance lied in its spiritual foundation. More precisely, for Patočka, “Europe arose … from … the motif of the care of the soul” (Patočka, 2002, p. 70). My intent in this study is to take some first steps towards elucidating Patočka’s conception of Europe in order to bring a comprehensive understanding on both his interpretation of Europe and its importance regarding theoretical background of Czech dissident movement known as Charter 77. Keywords: crisis, Charter 77, Europe, responsibility, sacrifice.