Volume 7, 2007
Jan Patočka and the European Heritage
Patočka on Techno-Science and Responsibility
Starting from Patočka’s understanding of history as a reflective confrontation with the “shaken present”, I will examine his understanding of human responsibility. For Patočka, human responsibility is impossible to think if the basis of our investigation is couched in the formalised scientific explanation. To think about human responsibility is to recognise that our lives are not something in the world, unchanging and open to investigation by formalised knowledge as a tree or rocks are. We must be responsible for the way we live. In that sense, science is incapable to account for the meaning of life. However, this does not mean that to speak of the meaning of life is meaningless. The life one leads is an achievement. What kind of an achievement it is depends on the way we understand the world and our place in it, who we want to be.