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Masaryk, Kant and the Czech Experience

  • Roger Scruton
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)

Abstract

Masaryk’s ideas are more notable for their influence than for their intellectual power. It is a mistake to attribute to him a philosophical profundity which, had he really possessed it, would assuredly have impeded the brilliant career which made him the envy of philosophers. Masaryk was an intellectual in the Czech mould: wide-ranging, self-consciously European, seeking for ideas which could be clearly and simply expressed, and which would have an impact on the world of men and women. He looked on the university not as a scholarly retreat but as a podium, and his philosophical writings were couched in the same discursive language, and the same didactic tone of voice, as his speeches to the Austrian parliament.1 If Masaryk was accepted, in his presidency, as teacher of the Czech and Slovak nations, this was partly because he had not the habit of pursuing ideas beyond the daylight realm of public discussion and political controversy. His writings appealed directly to the ideas and feelings of the obyčejný člověk, who was partly the product of Masarykian democracy, and partly the cause of its downfall.

Keywords

Philosophical Writing Universalist Morality German Idealism Kantian Philosophy Cartesian Cogito 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    T. G. Masaryk, Otâzka sociälni, 2 vols., 3rd ed. (Prague: Cin, 1946).Google Scholar
  2. 18.
    Cf. Erazim Kohâk, ‘To Live in Truth’, in Milié Capek and Karel Hrubÿ (eds), T. G. Masaryk in Perspective (New York: SVU Press, 1981) pp. 37–61.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Scruton

There are no affiliations available

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