Exploring the Underground Writings of Jan Patočka: Politics and the Core of Mystery

This is the third lecture of the series. In Patočka’s third essay, his question is whether history has a meaning. It is of course possible to reply, dogmatically, in the negative (“History is chaos”) or in the affirmative (“History is governed by intelligible laws”). Modern nihilism denies that history has any meaning, whereas Marxism offers a positive doctrine of history’s meaning. Drawing on a now-forgotten German philosopher, Wilhelm Weischedel, Patočka argues that nihilism is literally deadly. “Humans cannot live,” he writes, “in the certitude of meaninglessness.” But he also knows that the Marxist “science” of history led to countless deaths in the twentieth century. Patočka therefore defends a form of Platonic politics that is shaped by “the old Christian meaning” of history – that of mystery.

Danube Institute present

Exploring the Underground Writings

Jan Patočka:
Politics and the Core of Mystery

David L. Dusenbury pic..jpg

Lecture by Dr. David L. Dusenbury, Visiting Fellow at Danube Institute
Introduced by John O’Sullivan, President of Danube Institute

Date: November 9, 2021
 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Scruton DOWNTOWN (1054 Budapest, Zoltán utca 10.)


Dr. David L. Dusenbury:

David is a Visiting Fellow at the Danube Institute. He obtained his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Leuven and held, most recently, a research fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His books include Platonic Legislations and The Innocence of Pontius Pilate. He has lectured widely in Europe on topics in philosophy, religion, law, and the history of ideas. His essays and criticism have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Corriere della Serra, American Affairs, and other cultural and political reviews.