Patočka, Charter 77, the state and morality: “May it all be for the benefit of the community!”

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Abstract

In this paper, I will argue that Patočka’s decision to become a signatory and one of the spokesperson of Charter 77 was both deeply informed, and in fact necessitated, by his whole philosophical understanding. I will suggest that the importance of Patočka’s contribution to Charter 77 goes beyond the original aim of the declaration, pointing to the broader significance of the moral and political crisis in a society reduced to the sphere of instrumental rationality. For Patočka, to think about humans and their existence in the world is irreducible to instrumental rationality.

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