There are three phases of Patocka's philosophical work. The first starts under the influence of E. Husserl's phenomenologically-oriented reflections on the crisis of European sciences and the search for the reality of the natural world. This beginning is soon interrupted by the Second World War. Immediately after this I noticed, as his student, the personal urgency of Patocka's efforts in his lectures on the Greek beginnings of the European philosophical tradition. He is still a thinker with a trust in scientific objectivity in the spirit of Husserl's 'strenge Wissenschaft'. Time, too, for him is a progression understood as the operation of a strictly critically founded human subjectivity. This phase of Patocka's life ends with the totalitarian Putsch in 1948, shortly following which he is ejected from Charles University. As an employee of the Comeniological centre he devotes himself to research on the philosophical significance of Comenius. Even at this time he observes the crisis of human existence: strict investigations, undertaken in the style of transcendentally-subjective exact insight into the core of being, open up perspectives of sense not only for man, but for the world in general - even if Comenius' divinely-preordained authority, guaranteeing in advance escape from the crisis, does not have to be accepted. The third phase begins with the return of Patocka to the history of philosophy in the sixties, and culminates in the seventies when, in thinking through the historical and political crisis of the second half of the twentieth century at the time of European global expansion, he adopted a certain distancing from the solution of transcendental phenomenology as a method of the philosophy of the 'absolute subject'. The modern technology of 'potentia humana' is ending - this dying and dying out should be treated as its own temporal negativity and nullity - but this is not a kind of resignation so much as caring for a different, new, future figure of spirituality.
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