The Question of the Subject: Jan Patočka’s Phenomenological Contribution

  • Saulius Geniusas
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 110)


Can phenomenology offer a meaningful alternative to the structuralist and the poststructuralist pronouncement of the death of the subject? I suggest that a meaningful alternative could be established on the basis of Jan Patočka’s phenomenological revival of Antiquity. According to my central thesis, Patočka’s notion of the “Care for the Soul” provides the phenomenological resources for a novel sense of subjectivity. To substantiate this claim, my chapter is divided into six parts. After sketching the central problematic in the first part, I turn in the second part to a description of the central reasons that underlie the death of the subject thesis. The third part shows how from Patočka’s works one can unearth the phenomenological basis that underlies this proclamation. The fourth part inquires into the close ties between the “death of the subject” thesis and Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology. The fifth part spells out how Patočka’s revival of Antiquity, under the heading of the “Care for the Soul,” generates a novel sense of subjectivity. On this basis, my concluding section suggests that Jan Patočka’s revival of Antiquity provides the resources needed to raise the question of subjectivity in the aftermath of the “death of the subject” thesis.


Radical Critique Transcendental Subjectivity Subject Thesis Phenomenological Question Eidetic Intuition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA

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