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Jan Patoçka and care for the soul

Although this does not have anything to do strictly with the work of the Foundation, Graham Henderson has been heavily influenced in his work in the arts over the last 15 years by the ideas of the Czech philosopher, Jan Patoçka. A leading phenomenologist, who took the ideas of his hero Socrates as a starting point, Patoçka was one of the most influential philosophical voices of the 20th century. Most famous for being a signatory to the Charter 77 document calling for respect for human rights in the former Czechoslovakia, Patoçka was subject to harsh interrogation and died soon after, a martyr for his beliefs. However, his thinking goes well beyond dissidence to set out a whole theory for the importance of private virtue and public action as the motors of a functioning civil society. Graham Henderson has written and lectured on the subject of Patoçka and his notion of care for the soul in the past, and regularly draws on the philosopher’s ideas in championing the role of the arts in social capital building. It is therefore great to report that Graham is working with the phenomenologist Erin Plunkett and with the Patoçka Archive in Prague to create a new English language selected edition of work by this important thinker, and it is likely that this will be published by Bloomsbury as early as 2019. 

Posted on:Friday 9th February, 2018