The Heretical Conception of the European Legacy in the Late Essays of Jan Patočka

Ivan Chvatík

What is it, in Patočka’s view, that makes Europe Europe? And what constitutes its bequest to the world after Europe’s „fall“, completed by the two world wars? What is it that Europe should strive to preserve, if–as seems likely–it does intend to play once again a respected role in world affairs? Are there elements that even the globalised world should take over from „old Europe“, and approaches it should avoid, unless it wishes for the end of history and the victory of sheer decadence? These are the issues that the article undertakes to face in their essential significance for Jan Patočka, without any claims for a comprehensive treatment of Patočka’s „heretical“ work.