Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy

Chair: Ivan Landa, Ph.D.

Deputy chair: Jan Mervart, Ph.D.

The Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy carries out basic research on the history of Czech philosophy from the beginning of the 19th century through the end of the 20th century, within the broader context of European intellectual history. It works in fields that have been the object of considerable scholarly interest, in addition to other fields that have often been ignored. Members of the department concentrate on the following themes:

(I) Czech Marxist philosophy

(II) Czech non-Marxist philosophy

(III) Czech philosophy and society up to 1948

Within these areas of study a number of specific projects are underway (each involving original research as well as the publication of critical editions of important texts). These projects include:

1) Marxist humanism in Czechoslovakia (Feinberg, Kužel, Landa, Mervart, Tomek).

This project's principal goal is to investigate the character, intellectual context, and impact of Marxist humanism in Czechoslovakia. Special attention is given to the work of Karel Kosík, Robert Kalivoda, Vítězslav Gardavský, Ivan Sviták, and Lubomír Sochor.

2) Philosophy of the dissident movement (Feinberg, Kužel, Landa, Mervart).

This project's principal goal is to map out the intellectual world of participants in the dissident movement. Special attention is given to a number of principle representatives of Czech dissent, including Václav Benda, Václav Havel, Ladislav Hejdánek, and Jiří Němec.

3) Philosophical and social scientific thought in the Czech Lands between 1800 and 1948 (Svoboda, Ševeček, Tomek).

This project's principal goal is to prepare a bibliography of source material on the history of Czech thought (on the basis of work left unfinished by Karel Urianek). The bibliography will contain, among other things, a bibliography of works by Jewish and German authors working in the region, as well as a bibliography of writings from the Russian immigrant community living in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1949. Another goal of the project is to systematically investigate the history of Czech Hegelianism, anarchism, Herbartism, and structuralism and their position within the history of ideas in Central Europe.

The department's output in the coming years will include critical editions of source material in the form of anthologies and the selected or collected works of individual authors (Kosík, Gardavský, Sviták, and others); original scholarly studies and reviews in Czech as well as international journals; individual and collective monographs; translations; and bibliographies. The department also organizes conferences, workshops, seminars, and public lectures for scholarly and non-scholarly audiences.

The Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy openly collaborates with researchers, universities, archives, and other research institutions within the Czech Republic and abroad.

24-11-2013 19:08:18

Upcoming events

  • 03.07.

    Evald Ilyenkov’s Critique of Epistemology and Education

    Od 13:00 ve studovně CMS Filosofického ústavu AV ČR (Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1)

    Dr. Siyaves Azeri

    (Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey)

    „Evald Ilyenkov's Critique of Epistemology and Education"

    Knowledge, from a Marxian point of view, emerges within the metabolic relation between human and social nature and is the form of manipulating this nature. Based on the concepts of "activity" and the "ideal", Ilyenkov's critique of epistemology follows this Marxian path. Accordingly human activity, the highest form of which is production, is the "middle term" through which human and reality confront, unify, produced as subject and object and thus separate from one another. The specificity of human being is "object-oriented activity", which in essence means changing the world. Ilyenkov criticizes the views (idealism, positivism, and official Soviet DIAMAT) that reduce knowledge to a system of propositions. Such a reduction yields the pseudo-problem of "applying" knowledge to reality. If the knowledge of objects still requires being applied to objects, then it is a semblance of knowledge. The mind or the ability to think independently is possible only if the "spiritual wealth of the society" is internalized. According to Ilyenkov, the education system should be reorganised so that it can create such free individuals capable of independent thinking. Intelligence is not a rarity but is something common to all. The problem is the education system that has "mediocrity" as its norm and thus produces mediocre individuals. The education system must be so reorganised that every human individual can access the totality of human cultural wealth and human-made objects and means and acquire the ability of putting them in use. As Ilyenkov puts it: "Communism is a program for creating such conditions for all".