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The Conception of Man in the Works of John Amos Comenius

Series:

Jan Čížek

This book maps the entire development of Comenius’s considerations on man, from his earliest writings to his philosophical masterwork. Although this book primarily offers an analysis and description of the conception of man in Comenius’s work, it may also serve the reader as a more general introduction to his philosophical conception. The author shows that, in spite of the fact that Comenius has received no small amount of academic attention, funded studies or monographs in English language remain in single figures. Thus, a range of Comenius’s remarkable ideas are still unknown to the wider public.

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2. Comenius’s work in view of his conception of man

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2.1 Characterisation and periodisation of Comenius’s work The oeuvre of John Amos Comenius is very extensive, and philosophically, theologically, and pedagogically varied and profound. A few fundamental ques- tions must be answered before any study is undertaken. One of those questions is whether the evolution of Comenius’s thought can be considered continuous or discontinuous. As the existing research on Comenius has shown – and as we in- tend to demonstrate in the present study – the evolution of John Amos’s thought cannot be seen as linear, uninterrupted, or characterised by absence of abrupt changes. The philosopher’s thought, as embodied in his work, is characterised by maturation and amplification, but also by radical revisions of previously held philosophical, theological, and pedagogical beliefs.6 The examination of the evolution of Comenius’s thought must – if it should be found discontinuous – be followed by a periodisation of his work aimed at iden- tifying the events that marked the transitions between the particular periods. In this case, the answers are much harder to come by. If we accept for a fact that Comenius’s work went through certain stages, we must say how many transitions there were, describe those transitions in terms of both quantity and quality and, lastly, we must define the stages chronologically. Based on our own reading of Comenius’s work and our analysis of and com- parison between the author’s individual works, we align ourselves with the perio- disation proposed by the Czech philosopher and Comenius scholar Jan Patočka, who divides Comenius’s life into three...

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