Freedom Between History and Metaphysics. On the Philosophical Images of Man by Jan Patočka and Józef Tischner

Variant title

Freiheit zwischen Geschichte und Metaphysik. Zu den Philosophischen Menschenbildern Jan Patočkas und Józef Tischners 


This paper aims at comparing two thinkers, the lives and works of which took place in the 20th century, a period troubled by totalitarianisms. Apart from the historical overlap of the biographies, there is also a group of issues in which they share common interests. They are related in their common affiliation to the phenomenological movement. Jan Patočka, a former student of E. Husserl and M. Heidegger, developed the original concept of asubjective phenomenology. In turn, Józef Tischner, a student of R. Ingarden, in his rich body of research gets at some fundamental problems of ethics and philosophical anthropology. Just as Patočka, Tischner was also active in political life, taking part in public debates. Central to the paper is the issue of the philosophy of man. In the case of Patočka, I reveal the relation between man, freedom and history which is best expressed in his late works from the 1970s. They conceive of man as a historical creature and the rise of history as being accompanied by the discovery of philosophy, politics and freedom. For Tischner, on the one hand, the reflection on man begins with the reflection on axiology and moves to the late period of his intellectual activity when it is placed in the context of his philosophy of drama. Here, the key is the I-you relation and agatology. Both thinkers see the fragility of human existence which they face and they defend human freedom in the era of ideologies and the domination of technology.




German (de)


Marek DrwięgaJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 4, Issue 2 (2016), pp. 109–141
Regular Issue