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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 7, 2007

Jan Patočka and the European Heritage

Peter Trawny
Pages 377-394

Die Moderne als Weltkrieg
Der Krieg bei Heidegger und Patočka

In the article “The Modern Age as World War” Heidegger’s and Patočka’s considerations of the First and the Second World War are interpreted as a reflection on the modern age. The historical background of this reflection goes back through an important influence of Ernst Jünger to Heraclitus’ thought of an all-ruling πόλεμος, which brings forth the close affinity between Heidegger and Patočka. Here it is unavoidable to pay heed to the question, whether war that is understood on the basis of the Heraclitean πόλεμος is a historical (geschichtliches) event or not. Besides this, Heidegger’s and Patočka’s philosophical approaches to the world war are set back in the context of their thoughts, which we can find by Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, or Clausewitz. In the end, we argue that Heidegger’s and Patočka’s thinking of war is a contribution to the almost refused self-knowledge of the modern age itself.

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