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

  • 28.05.

    Contingency & Potential: Re-Considering Critical Theory after the Empirical Turn

    Od 16:00 v Akademickém konferenčním centru
    (Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1)




    Oddělení pro studium moderní české filosofie

    vás zve na přednášku s názvem

    Contingency & Potential: Re-Considering Critical Theory after the Empirical Turn

    kterou přednese

    Dr. Darryl Cressman

    (Maastricht University)

    Over the past two decades, proponents of the empirical turn have constructed an intellectual history of the philosophy of technology in which the discipline can be neatly divided between classical and empirical approaches. The latter, influenced by work in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and phenomenology, takes as its starting point that humans and technical artifacts are intertwined and so the challenge for philosophers is conceptualizing the active engagements between humans and technologies without drawing a neat distinction between the two. In contrast, classical approaches, which are associated with philosophers like Martin Heidegger, Herbert Marcuse, and Jacques Ellul, have been deemed "classical" and reduced to essentialist holdovers from the past. In this presentation, I want to challenge this intellectual history by arguing that dialectical and critical philosophies of technology are neither essentialist nor do they rely upon simplistic dichotomies of liberation and domination. Rather, like work in STS and phenomenology, the critical, or dialectical, tradition is empirical and recognizes the inherent contingency of technical design and meaning. Where these approaches differ is that critical theories of technology are historically oriented towards the question of why we have the technologies we do, pointing to the distinctly sociotechnical contexts that precede and give meaning to our everyday experiences while opening up concrete potentials that can realize goals and ambitions that are different than those of the groups who design and administer technologies.