By Edward F. Findlay
The 1st complete exploration of the political considered Jan Patocka, scholar of Husserl and Heidegger and mentor of Vaclav Havel.
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Extra resources for Caring for the Soul in a Postmodern Age: Politics and Phenomenology in the Thought of Jan Patocka
Because of our corporeity and the nature of our lives as played out in communities, we relate to other beings, both objects and persons, and we relate to the world that is their context. These relations are part of our being, they enable our successful self-relation. In order to actualize that self-relation, Patocˇka writes, our personal being “must go round about through another being. ”99 This relating to the world and its contents is characteristic of all living beings, even those not imbued with self-understanding.
89 The crucial element in Patocˇka’s application of this concept to social being is his contention that the Heideggerean stress on finitude shares something with the Platonic melete¯ thanatou, the “learning to die” of the Phaedo. Socrates and Heidegger tell us that, in order to care for life, to live authentically, one must care for death and not attempt to evade it. In Heidegger, Patocˇka finds particularly relevant the discussion of the attitude of “everydayness” that characterizes “they” who effectively deny the certainty of death.
Only by the way does Heidegger recognize that the struggling being is a corporeal one, without explicating it. Yet precisely in the course of that explication does it become apparent that our relation to things is fully analogous to our self-relation, that it is a continuation of our life in the body. 98 Our relation to ourselves, our self-understanding as autonomous entities, is therefore not the sole factor constitutive of our being. Because of our corporeity and the nature of our lives as played out in communities, we relate to other beings, both objects and persons, and we relate to the world that is their context.