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Jan Patočka: Philosophy and Action

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  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: March 16, 2017, 19:00 – 21:00

Jan Patočka began working on his private seminar “Plato and Europe” in autumn 1973. He characterised philosophy as internal conduct. “The situation of man,” he told his students at a Prague apartment against a backdrop of culminating normalisation, “changes once we become aware of it. The situation is utterly different, depending on whether people who are in distress surrender or don’t surrender.”

Speaking at this seminar marking the 40th anniversary of the death and the 110th anniversary of the birthday Jan Patočka, one of the first spokespeople of Charter 77, will be people who were present at that time: Ivan Chvatík, head of the Jan Patočka Archive; Charles University philosophy professor Miroslav Petříček; Jaromír Kučera, philosophy teacher at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague; and Jiří Michálek, who teaches philosophy at Charles University’s Faculty of Science. Also taking part will be Markéta Bendová, a postgraduate student at Charles University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Martin Palouš, director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University, will deliver the introduction and chair the subsequent discussion.

Seminar prepared in cooperation with the Jan Patočka Archive.

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Diary entry for 5 December 2005, To the Castle and Back

„It’s as though I were constantly expecting someone to visit. But who? A strange and beautiful woman who admires me?… I have only one explanation: I’m constantly preparing for the last judgment, for the highest court from which nothing can be hidden… I’m obviously assuming that the supreme judge is a stickler like me.“

Václav Havel:
Diary entry for 5 December 2005, To the Castle and Back, 2006

Václav Havel’s Prague