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Political History

2016

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Vaclav Havel, Jan Patocka: The Powerless And The Shaken, Daniel Brennan Oct 2016

Vaclav Havel, Jan Patocka: The Powerless And The Shaken, Daniel Brennan

Daniel Brennan

This article makes a case for considering Vaclav Havel's political theory of the nature of dissent as more politically grounded than that of his mentor fan Patoka. Against the criticism of Havel, which describes him as a less rigorous repeater of Patocka's ideas, this paper demonstrates how Havel appropriated Patocka's idea that the dissident is, similarly to a World War I trench soldier, fighting in a contemporary front in a demobilized war. However I argue that in Havel's thought, the understanding of dissent takes on a more practical and useful complexion than that of Patocka. This ...