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    Public Defence of Doctoral Thesis with Gustav Strandberg: Politikens omskakning – negativitet, samexistens och frihet i Jan Patočkas tänkande

    The public defence of doctoral thesis is organised by Philosophy at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

    Gustav Strandberg

    Doctoral thesis:
     Politikens omskakning – negativitet, samexistens och frihet i Jan Patočkas tänkande
    Subject: Philosophy
    Graduate School: The research area Critcal and Cultural Theory at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University
    Faculty examiner: Thomas Schwarz Wentzer, PhD, Institut for Kultur og Samfund, Filosofi, Aarhus Universitet.
    Language: English


    The present investigation analyses the political thought of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. It focuses on the question of how we are to understand political life: what are its distinguishing features and how we are to circumscribe it conceptually. According to Patočka the experience of politics is one characterized by a loss of meaning, a loss of a foundation or principle that could lend stability to our lives. It is an experience of a tremor by and through which the foundations of our experience are shaken.

    Philosophy’s political task is, however, not to provide any foundation for political life, but rather to address the question of why man is inclined to posit metaphysical foundations and why refuge in ideological principles is sought. Philosophy must instead engage with the groundlessness and negativity permeating human existence as such. In order to provide an analysis of human existence, and how this very groundlessness of existence is exposed in politics, Patočka calls for an “a-subjective phenomenology” that abandons the traditional notion of the subject and of subjectivity. An “a-subjective” phenomenological analysis is central for the present investigation.

    The author shows that it is only by and through Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology that his political thought can be understood; out of his distinctive phenomenological analyses, the negativity, instability and groundlessness of human existence is brought to the fore. Politically, this negativity manifests itself in two phenomena, which, when taken together, constitute the very bedrock for politics: freedom and human coexistence. Human existence is neither stable nor self-sufficient. On the contrary, it is always already exposed to others, always already engaged in the self-transcending movement of its freedom. Freedom and coexistence are in this respect two interrelated expressions of the inherent negativity of human existence and two phenomena that, accordingly, occupy a privileged position in this study.

    The author seeks to show that it is by way of an in-depth analysis of freedom and coexistence that the question of politics can be addressed in the work of Patočka since they give testament to the trembling, unnerving, and disorienting nature of politics.

    Tid och plats

    När: fredag 22 september kl. 13:00-15:00

    Vad: disputation

    Var: Room MB 503, on the fifth floor in the B-wing, main building, Södertörn University, Campus Flemingsberg

    Arrangeras av: Philosophy at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

    Evenemangsspråk: engelska