Laura Tusa Ilea – “Caring for the Soul” and the “New” in History (Jan Patočka)
McGill Philosophy Workshop
Laura Tusa Ilea
“Caring for the Soul” and the “New” in History (Jan Patočka)
Monday April 19 from 3-4:30pm in Leacock 927
The confrontation between two texts written by Jan Patočka, namely *Plato and Europe* and *Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History*, highlights a tension between a rather “classical” paradigm and a heretical one, between a model of thinking that reinforces “the new” in perfect harmony with the inner unity of the soul; and a model that considers “the new” as subservient to historical catastrophes: the new as a *looking-in*, whose core reveals itself only after the decline has fully reached its bottom. On the one hand, a soul in profound harmony with the realm of eternal ideas; on the other hand, a soul captivated by the blind entanglement present in history.
In this paper, I will address the topic of “creation in history” as related to self accomplishment. In order to do so, I will focus on the repetition inherent in the phenomenon of appearance as reflected in the phenomenological tradition (Husserl and Heidegger) that would prevent Patočka from thinking the “absolutely new.” This investigation would lead to a distancing from the classical tradition of phenomenology towards a coming closer to the notion of “space of appearance,” developed by Hannah Arendt. In order to acknowledge the *absolutely new* in history, as it is presented by Jan Patočka, I will prove the importance of Arendt’s concept of nativity developed in *The Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History*.