Patočka and English Sensualism and its Place in Modern Philosophy


Reception of the British empirical-sensualistic tradition as a unique form of philosophizing has its irreplaceable place in the history of philosophy. Jan Patočka takes this fact into consideration, but his reception and interpretation of British empiricism is not purely historical. Patočka was trained by Husserl’s phenomenology and formed by Heidegger’s intellectual heritage, and this makes for his specific philosophical thinking. Furthermore, his thinking is highly influenced by a thematic element initially formed on the grounds of Husserl’s phenomenology as the problem of Lebenswelt, now present in Patočka’s work as the problem of natural world. Patočka perceives entire philosophical tradition via the context of this leitmotif, which we find present in his thinking. His critical reception of British empiricism was an inseparable component in the rethinking of the problem of natural world. Patočka did not offer any attempt at summarization of his attitude towards British sensualism in form of a stand-alone paper or study. Nevertheless, reception of British philosophical heritage of the 17th century in Patočka’s optics definitely is of primary importance – firstly, in context of phenomenological tradition (especially its founder E. Husserl), which Patočka joins, and secondly for the purpose of articulating his own philosophical position. Commentaries to British sensualistic tradition can be found in various writings from his early, as well as late period. His notion of empiricism is always fundamentally interrelated with his other philosophical works – within his interpretation of Husserl, Heidegger and later still more intensively within Patočka’s own notion of natural world and his project of asubjective phenomenology


English sensualism; English empricism; phenomenology; natural world; subjective phenomenology

E. Husserl: Idea fenomenologie. Transl. T. Dimter. Praha: 2001.

J. Patočka: Tělo, společenství, jazyk, svět. Praha: OIKOYMENH 1995.

J. Patočka: Fenomenologické spisy I. Sebrané spisy. Sv. 6. Praha: OIKOYMENH 2008.

J. Patočka: Fenomenologické spisy II. Sebrané spisy. Sv. 7. Praha: OIKOYMENH 2009.


Published : 2016-07-04

Hruška, D. (2016). Patočka and English Sensualism and its Place in Modern Philosophy. Folia Philosophica, 37. Retrieved from

Dušan Hruška
University of Pavol Jozef Šafárik in Košice Faculty of Arts Department of philosophy and history of philosophy  Slovakia

My influences in philosophy are based on phenomenology and hermeneutics tradition together with a tradition of post-metaphysics philosophy. My main scientific interest is the situation of the end of metaphysics and its influences on a present philosophy and a religion nowadays. My PhD. thesis was about The end of the metaphysics of Plato in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.  This is also the name of my monograph.

My main publications are as follow:

"Parmenides and the confrotation about the history of metaphysics - Nietzsches and Heideggers critics of metaphysics" - Heidegger and Greek philosophy, Košice 2013.

"Changes of religious thinking in a situation of the end of the biggest metaphysical narations" - Nowadays changes of religious thinking, Prešov 2013.

"Nietzsches contribution to a reflection of presocratic thinking" - Servire in caritate, Warszawa 2010.

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