Tři pohledy na první světovou válku
Three views of the First World War
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Each of the philosophers whom the author focuses on in this article addressed not only the question of the meaning of the First World War, but also of war in general as a certain kind of phenomenon. Scheler and Patočka both share a generally phenomenological starting point and in particular they share an orientation that treats the war experience as one of transcendence (sacrifice, being “shaken”) of the everyday and its institutional bonds. In this respect, however, the two philosophers reflect wartime experience in an almost contradictory way: Scheler adores the engagement of war in the interest of nationalistically-understood goals, Patočka exalts the attitude of the „shaken“, consisting in „self-possession“ and in refusing „the appeals to mobilise“. Transcendence has, then, an opposite meaning in the two thinkers. Despite the generally problematic (especially nationalistically extreme) character of Scheler’s views, even here we find a stimulating reference to the nontransparency of a distinction between just and unjust wars and of its identification with aggressive and defensive wars. Patočka’s thought about being “shaken” does not, however, concern only wartime experience, but also plays an important role in a conception of the „spiritual man“, which had a significant resonance in the Czech intellectual milieu. Masaryk, against the background of the events of the First World War in their wider context of „world revolution“, formulated his own conception of the meaning of Czech history, consisting in the struggle between theocracy and democracy. This interpretation drew a critical reaction from J. Patočka. Masaryk was the only one of the philosophers treated here who, in his thoughts about war, reflected on the meaning of the First World War for political organisation and cooperation among nations in general. In his exaltation of the significance of democracy as the guarantee of the realisation of human rights, Masaryk can be seen as a philosopher who is close to the modern conception of moral and political philosophy (J. Rawls, M. Walzer, V. Hösle).
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