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Title: Approaching the Absolute in Jan Patočka's Phenomenology
Author(s): RITTER, Martin
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 79    Issue: 3   Date: 2017   
Pages: 499-515
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.79.3.3271933

Abstract :
The paper elucidates the relationship between a finite human being and the infinite in Jan Patočka’s phenomenology. Whereas the early Patočka conceives phenomenology as a turn to absolute consciousness, in his later concept a phenomenologist can analyse appearing thanks to being a conditioned and finite part of the appearing, unable to transcend its own finiteness. Nevertheless, Patočka never abandons his early idea that 'the absolute is not outside but within us'. To clarify this idea, the paper considers especially Patočka’s concept of the movements of existence. Although Patočka inclines towards identifying the human relation to the absolute with the service of Being, he also conceives the true movement of existence as the movement of love. The article elaborates on this idea to demonstrate that the relationship of the finite human being to infinity does not need to be conceived as the relation to the unconditioned (absolute consciousness, Spirit, Being) but as the relation between conditioned, finite human beings. This infinity is reflected by phenomenology and manifested by a concrete human being.

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