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Jan Patočka

Czech essayist and philosopher
Jan Patočka, 1971

Jan Patočka (1 June 1907 – 13 March 1977) was a Czech philosopher. Due to his contributions to phenomenology and the philosophy of history he is considered one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. Having studied in Prague, Paris, Berlin and Freiburg, he was one of the last pupils of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.


  • Modern man lacks a unified conception of the world. He lives in a dual world: in his environment, which is naturally given to him, and, at the same time, in the world which since the beginning of the modern era has been created for him by sciences founded upon the principle that the laws of nature are, in essence, mathematical. The non-unity which has thus come to penetrate our entire life is the true source of the spiritual crisis we are going through today.
    • Jan Patočka, cited in: Paul F.H. Lauxtermann, "Kant, Goethe, and the Mechanization of the World-Picture." in: Schopenhauer’s Broken World-View. Springer Netherlands, 2000. p.9

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