Patočka, Nietzsche and the issue of man


In framing a question about meaning of man, respectively human history, Patočka uses a historical-philosophical aspect as well as a phenomenological aspect. By tracking the genesis of the concept of eternity from Kant to the 20th century he concludes, that human meaning cannot be derived from moral postulates which exceed finitness of man. By deleting the concept of eternity Patočka concludes, that the question of meaning cannot be bound by human targets, because filled purpose is already objectified, existing, without the horizon of your being and in this its takes the form of a relative meaning. The meaning, according to Patočka is phenomenologically bound to being, which is non-objective, implying that the meaning is problematic, unreal, yet constantly perpetuated. This attitude has served Patočka to the criticism of nihilism and in it especially to the unacceptability of active nihilism, the concept which Nietzsche introduced into the philosophy. Patočka transferred a critique of Nietzsche´s understanding of realized meaning in terms of superman by rejection of his idea of will to power (he understood it in the definition of gross and ruthless animal life, namely in the form of the highest being) and the doubtful idea of eternal return. Patočka with his attitude to Nietzsche only echoed the opinion presented by Heidegger, which called Nietzsche the consummator of modern subjectivity.In terms of the present (Kouba) it shows, that phenomenology will profit more if it converts both Nietzsche´s thoughts to its own area and use them in the analysis of situational meaning that is constantly (by contradiction) bound to the horizon of possibility of the situation without a sense – that is in meaningful situation suppressed, not realized, but its validity and consistency with the horizon of meaning does not lose. In this view, it appears that Nietzsche´s understanding of the meaning is also problematic, but this problematic natureis not bound to absolute meaning.


Patočka; Nietzsche; human existence; the world as a whole; absolute meaning; ambiguity of the happening; situational meaning

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Published : 2016-07-04

Jusko, Štefan. (2016). Patočka, Nietzsche and the issue of man. Folia Philosophica, 37. Retrieved from

Štefan Jusko
University of Pavol Jozef Šafárik in Košice Faculty of Arts Department of philosophy and history of philosophy  Slovakia
The author of the research paper devotes himself to the philosophy of F. Nietzsche and phenomenologically oriented philosophy. He is the author of the monograph Nietzsche a grécka filozofia [Nietzsche and Greek Philosophy] (2014), the academic course-book Mýtus v Patočkovej filozofii [Myth in Patočka´s Philosophy] (2015) and more than 20 scientific articles. His main publications are as follows: „Mýtus a vznik gréckej filozofie“. [Myth and the Origin of Greek Philosophy] In: Patočka a grécka filozofia, [Patočka and the Greek Philosophy], Košice 2013, p. 51 – 70. „Friedrich Nietzsche – metafora a problém poznania“. [Friedrich Nietzsche – Metaphor and the Problem of Knowledge] In: Funkcia obraznosti vo filozofii [The Function of Imagery in Philosophy], Košice 2013, p. 137 – 156. „Patočka a Scheler“. [Patočka and Scheler] In: Patočka a filozofia 20. Storočia [Patočka and Philosophy in the 20th Century], Košice 2015, p. 169 – 197. „Patočka: Čas, mýtus a kritická filozofia dejín“. [Patočka: Time, Myth and the Critical Philosophy of History] In: Filozofia, vol. 70, no. 6. 2015, p. 465 – 471.

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