Jan Patočka’s Concept of Fraternity and its Challenges vis-à-vis the World of Today

Zuzana Svobodová
DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/18023061.556


The presentation entitled “Jan Patočka’s Concept of Fraternity and its Challenges vis-à-vis the World of Today” discusses the concept of fraternity explored in texts by the Czech philosopher written later in his life. J. Patočka was one of the authors of Charter 77, a dissident document, which called for the protection of human rights (published on January 6.–7., 1977).

First, Patočka’s theory of three movements of life (also: movements of the soul) – i.e. the movement of rooting or anchoring, the movement of labour or self-delivery and the movement of breakthrough or finding oneself – will be analysed. Based on the analysis, the role of turning (gr. metanoiésis) from a mere solidarity of interests to actual being through surrendering oneself will be shown. Jan Patočka interpreted life as surrender by referring to the notion of Godman and the way the world relates to him. The phenomenon of sacrifice that Jan Patočka dealt with in the last period of his life (Patočka died on March 13, 1977, following long and exhausting police interrogations) can inspire the field of social ethics, both from the philosophical and theological points of view. It also comes with challenges to education and training in today’s Europe, which faces migration, as it needs to learn new habits of hospitality and fraternity.



Jan Patočka; Charter 77; fraternity; movements of life; conversion; KAIROS.

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ISSN 1802-3061

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