Reflections on Rádl and Masaryk

Jan Patočka

The text is a transcription of a taped reminiscence of Patocka on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Emauel Rádl, during a private (apartment) seminar in 1974. Patočka’s starting point is Masaryk and his originality of thought which only Rádl was able to capture. The entire Czech thought between the two World Wars is determined by its relation to Masaryk, but this is either as blind following (the whole so-called Castle, e.g. K. Čapek), or as opposition from the radical left or radical right standpoint (e.g. B. Šmeral and J. Pekař respectively). Rádl alone criticises Masaryk in an attempted deepened continuation of Masaryk’s thought. Rádl’s critique meant a fundamental revision of the entire ideology of the Czechoslovak Republic which however remained unheard by the Czech society. Despite this Patočka’s stresses the unique significance of Czech inter-war philosophy not on account of Masaryk’s and Rádl’s philosophical originality, but for their ability to reveal the possibilities of philosophy in modern society.