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The Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology 2016

Vocations, Social Identities, Spirituality: Phenomenological Perspectives

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Edited By Jana Trajtelová

The fourth volume of the «Yearbook on History and Interpretation of Phenomenology: Vocations, Social Identities, Spirituality: Phenomenological Perspectives» presents variety of contemporary authors who explore the problem of vocation and closely related phenomena of personal, social, cultural (and transcultural) identity. They, altogether, point to its indispensable significance for our deeper understanding of the philosophical category of a «person», and a personal community, with all of its moral and axiological weight. The elucidation of our personal and social identities also unavoidably accompanies an ongoing, mutually respectful dialogue with other distinctive cultural life-worlds.

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The Decline of Freedom. Jan Patočka’s Phenomenological Critique of Liberalism (Michal Zvarík)

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Michal Zvarík The Decline of Freedom. Jan Patočka’s Phenomenological Critique of Liberalism Abstract: The article aims to present Patočka’s critical position towards liberalism. In Heretical Essays he suggests that liberalism is not able to tackle the problem of individuality with the depth it deserves, especially in relation to responsibility. This is due to the fact that liberalism, as an exponent of technological civilization, tends to overlook the fact of human transcendence towards Being. In the following part of the article the author argues that Patočka’s opinion is a result of long-term reflections. Already in the 1950s, in the unfinished essay Supercivilization and Its Inner Conflict, he characterizes liberalism as a movement claiming freedom for the individual, which was originally grounded in awareness of human transcendence expressed in newly born technological science and religion. However, the later form of liberal individualism, where a human being is primarily reduced to a social “atom”, is inherently decadent. Thus, a paradox is present in the liberalistic movement: on the one hand, freedom is ascribed to individuality due to its ability to transcend, and on the other hand, in being merely an atom s/he is stripped of this metaphysical privilege. For this reason the atomistic account appears as purposeless and nihilistic. It is suggested in the conclusion of this article that Patočka’s critique of liberalism does not fall into enmity. Because the claim still persists in the principle of freedom that the individual is capable of free, responsible initiative, there...

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