Volume 7, 2007
Jan Patočka and the European Heritage
Des deux manières de concevoir le sens de la philosophie
(traduit du tchèque par Erika Abrams)
The essay “On the Two Conceptions of the Meaning of Philosophy”, published in 1936, links up with other early writings such as “Remarks on the Wordly and Other-Wordly Stance of Philosophy” (1934) reflecting Patočka’s initial approach to the question of philosophers’ moral commitment. He distinguishes here an “autocentric” (Aristotle, Descartes, Hegel) and a “hetero-” or “sociocentric” (Plato, Enlightenment philosophers, Comte, Nietzsche) conception of the meaning of philosophy, characterizes its possible influence on human life as either “apperceptive” or “magical” and concludes on a vision of “autonomous life” as “the divinity struggling with its intrinsic peril” which heralds later writings on freedom and sacrifice.