The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem

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Publication Date
August 2016
Page Count
240 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem

Jan Patocka, edited by Ivan Chvatík and Lubica Ucnik, translated by Erika Abrams, foreword by Ludwig Landgrebe

The first text to critically discuss Edmund Husserl’s concept of the "life-world," The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem reflects Jan Patocka's youthful conversations with the founder of phenomenology and two of his closest disciples, Eugen Fink and Ludwig Landgrebe. Now available in English for the first time, this translation includes an introduction by Landgrebe and two self-critical afterwords added by Patocka in the 1970s. Unique in its extremely broad range of references, the work addresses the views of Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap alongside Husserl and Heidegger, in a spirit that considerably broadens the understanding of phenomenology in relation to other twentieth-cen tury trends in philosophy. Even eighty years after first appearing, it is of great value as a general introduction to philosophy, and it is essential reading for students of the history of phenomenology as well as for those desiring a full understanding of Patocka’s contribution to contemporary thought.
About the Author

JAN PATOCKA (1907–1977) was a Czech philosopher, phenomenologist, cultural critic, and one of the first spokespersons for the Charta 77 human rights movement in the former Czechoslovakia. He was among Edmund Husserl's last students, and he attended Heidegger's seminars in Freiburg.

IVAN CHVATIK is director of the Jan Patocka Archive and codirector of the Center for Theoretical Study at the Institute for Advanced Study at Charles University and the Czech Adademy of Sciences in Prague.

L'UBICA UCNIK is Professor of Philosophy at Murdoch University in Australia.

ERIKA ABRAMS is an award-winning translator and freelance writer. She coedited Jan Patocka and the Heritage of Phenomenology, and has translated and edited fifteen volumes of Patocka's writings in French.

LUDWIG LANDGREBE (1902–1991) was an Austrian phenomenologist and close associate of Edmund Husserl.


“Finally in English, the first book explicitly dedicated to the groundbreaking topic of the life-world. Conceived with an intimate knowledge of the manuscripts that would lead to Husserl's Crisis, Patocka's study is far more than a commentary: it brilliantly advocates the need for philosophy, not by idealizing philosophy as a ‘unity function’ for the modern person’s splintered consciousness, but by drawing philosophy itself into the existential quest and returning to its Socratic impulses.” —Dr. Ludger Hagedorn, Head, Jan Patocka Archive, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna

The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem “provides an engaging précis of Patocka's powerfully original philosophical approach to nature and illustrates his adept deployment of phenomenological method.” —Steven G. Crowell, author of Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning