Czech philosophy

Czech philosophy, has often eschewed "pure" speculative philosophy,[1] emerging rather in the course of intellectual debates in the fields of education (e.g. Jan Amos Komenský), art (e.g. Karel Teige), literature (e.g. Milan Kundera), and especially politics (e.g. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Karel Kosík, Ivan Sviták, Václav Havel).

Czech philosophers have also played a central role in the development of phenomenology, whose German-speaking founder Edmund Husserl was born in the Czech lands. Czechs Jan Patočka and Václav Bělohradský would later make important contributions to phenomenological thought.


  1. ^ "Fvf:Filozofia česká". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
Blood libel

Blood libel or ritual murder libel (also blood accusation) is an antisemitic canard accusing Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. Historically, these claims—alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration—have been a major theme of the persecution of Jews in Europe.Blood libels typically claim that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover, although this element was allegedly absent in the earliest cases which claimed that then-contemporary Jews reenacted the crucifixion. The accusations often assert that the blood of the children of Christians is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have been made in order to account for the otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice has become venerated as a Christian martyr. Three of these – William of Norwich, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, and Simon of Trent – became objects of local cults and veneration, and in some cases they were added to the General Roman Calendar. One, Gabriel of Białystok, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in the 16th century. According to Walter Laqueur:

Altogether, there have been about 150 recorded cases of blood libel (not to mention thousands of rumors) that resulted in the arrest and killing of Jews throughout history, most of them in the Middle Ages. In almost every case, Jews were murdered, sometimes by a mob, sometimes following torture and a trial.

The term 'blood libel' has also been used to refer to any unpleasant or damaging false accusation, and it has taken on a broader metaphorical meaning. However, this usage remains controversial, and Jewish groups have objected to such usage.

Central European Institute of Philosophy

The Central European Institute of Philosophy (SIF; Czech: Středoevropský Institut Filosofie; German: Mitteleuropäisches Institut für Philosophie) established in 2010, is a joint institution of the Charles University Faculty of Humanities and the Czech Republic Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy. The SIF seeks to follow in the footsteps of Prague’s “Cercle philosophique,” which was established by Czech and German professors from the University of Prague in 1934, but soon disbanded with the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. The Institute promotes philosophical research – with an emphasis on the phenomenological as well as on trans/ interdisciplinary.

The Czech Republic, with its tradition of a rather unusual symbiotic alliance of Czech, Jewish, and German intellectuals is an ideal location for the SIF. The country has already birth to various influential movements: The Prague Circle literary school (Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Felix Weltsch, Franz Werfel, Oscar Baum), in art Czech cubism and surrealism along with other disciplines such as empirical criticism (Ernst Mach), phenomenology (Edmund Husserl), and psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud). As one of its primary objectives, the SIF seeks to map the rich potential of the varied cultural and ethnic influences that shape the present day Czech state. This mapping enables a hypothesis as to the reciprocal influences of not only other European traditions but also non-European and the consequences these might hold for the present and the future.

In keeping with this multi-cultural tradition, two directors guide the SIF: a Czech, Karel Novotny and a German, Hans Rainer Sepp. The Institute is composed of a staff of permanent and external members and is also supported by an international scholarly board of 36 professors or institutions representing twenty countries. All strive in close association so that SIF may bring together thinkers and scholars working in a wide range of disciplines concerned with the study of philosophical, historical, critical, and theoretical issues. In addition, SIF also is the home of the book series “Orbis Phaenomenologicus,” founded in 1993 and published by Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, Germany, as well as the newly established series “libri nigri. Thinking Across Boundaries” and “libri virides. The Young Forum,” published by Traugott Bautz, Nordhausen, Germany.

A research project entitled “Philosophical Investigations of Body Experiences: Trans-disciplinary Perspectives” is currently underway at the SIF. In addition to its ongoing research projects, the SIF offers specialized advanced courses in conjunction with the EU Master Program “German and French Philosophy in the European Context.” The Institute also organizes and hosts international conferences and is very active in facilitating the publication of established and young scholars alike. To date the SIF has organized three international conferences and edited ten book publications. All of these activities attest to SIF’s commitment to providing a place of intellectual exchange, dialogue, and debate as scholars re-think the methodology and assumptions of their respective disciplines in light of the cultural perspectives and assumptions of others both past and present.


Externism is a fictional philosophical theory proposed by the fictional Czech genius Jára Cimrman. This character appears in many plays by authors from the Jára Cimrman Theatre in Prague. The first act of the theatre performances is usually filled with a lecture on Cimrman's personality, followed by a theatrical play. The theory of externism is described in a monologue by a Cimrmanologist having a lecture on Jára Cimrman's significance in the field of philosophy in the first act of the theatre play Akt (The Nude) by Zdeněk Svěrák, Ladislav Smoljak and Jiří Šebánek.

This epistemological theory contradicts the traditional theory of solipsism. While solipsists believe that only their individual self exists and the external world does not, Jára Cimrman confronted them with the idea that it is the external world which exists and the philosopher's individual self does not.

At first this idea was met with huge disagreement among philosophers. Jára Cimrman was invited to defend his theory to the philosophical congress in Basel. The key counterargument that he had to face was: How could a non-existing consciousness create a theory?

Jára Cimrman replied that the fact that he does not exist does not mean he is not perceptible. He compared the world to a space with a small place in the middle, where Jára Cimrman is missing. If we take a piece of paper with a hole in the middle, the paper can be compared to the external world and the hole (which is clearly visible) to the non-existing philosopher. Stretching and contracting the space results in the opposite change in the form of the hole. This movement can be viewed as a process of philosopher's thinking.

Later Cimrman elaborated the theory into more detail, as Cimrmanologists found out when reading Albert Einstein's correspondence. He proposed that even other objects in our world do not exist in the way it is usually thought. In fact, an object is located in the place where we think it is not, and it is not in the place where we consider it to be. For example, if you take a piece of chalk, the chalk forms a huge mass all around itself, where the chalk may be, with a small bubble inside, where the chalk is definitely not.

Albert Einstein considered the theory to be "funny", which Cimrmanologists read as an expression of admiration. However, he had some objections as well. "As a physicist, I have to point out that it makes no difference if you call an object 'emptiness' and the emptiness 'object'," he wrote, "It is just ping-pong with words."

Cimrman's rival in the field of philosophy was F. C. Bohlen (another fictitious philosopher). He owned a pharmacy and was known for using exceptionally rude language. According to this vulgar materialist (which also means "pharmacist" in Czech), the truth is the basic principle of our knowledge. In the beginning of the learning process, the truth is inaccurate and we make it more precise. Finally, we know everything.

Cimrman stated that in the beginning of every learning process, our knowledge is formed by a mistake, which is precise, and we must disconfirm it. Finally, we know nothing. Despite this, Cimrman cannot be considered to be an agnostic or nihilist. On the contrary, he sees the learning process positively as a process of disproving the initial mistake. Thus, we can finally stand face-to-face with the Universe, having our head clear and empty.

The fact that in the end we know nothing is just a logical consequence of Cimrman's externism. The example with the chalk showed that in the learning process, when we try to get nearer to an object, we always reach a place where the object is not. Therefore, in the end of the process, we know nothing but we know it exactly.

The theory can be easily applied to the whole of existence, except for the theory itself. When doing so, we seemingly disprove it: either it is a mistake, or we do not know it. Therefore, Cimrman created a revolutionary solution: Cimrman's "Step-Aside". Thus he, just for a little while, appeared in the world of vulgar materialism, and could confirm his theory as valid. The conclusions of both theories he joined together with a colon: "We know everything: We know nothing."

Filosofický časopis

Filosofický časopis is a peer-reviewed academic journal on philosophy. The journal was established in 1953 by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Nowadays Filosofický časopis is published by the Institute for philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Filosofický časopis is the oldest philosophical journal among those which are now published in the Czech Republic. It covers all philosophical traditions and all the areas of philosophy. It is indexed in the ERIH and ISI databases. The editor-in-chief is Petr Horák.

History of Czechoslovakia

With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of World War I, the independent country of Czechoslovakia (Czech, Slovak: Československo) was formed as a result of the critical intervention of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, among others.

The Czechs and Slovaks were not at the same level of economic and technological development, but the freedom and opportunity found in an independent Czechoslovakia enabled them to make strides toward overcoming these inequalities. However, the gap between cultures was never fully bridged, and this discrepancy played a disruptive role throughout the seventy-five years of the union.

Jan Patočka

Jan Patočka (1 June 1907 – 13 March 1977) was a Czech philosopher. Due to his contributions to phenomenology and the philosophy of history he is considered one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. Having studied in Prague, Paris, Berlin and Freiburg, he was one of the last pupils of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. During his studies in Freiburg he was also tutored by Eugen Fink, a relationship which eventually turned into a lifelong philosophical friendship.

Josef Pekař

Josef Pekař (April 12, 1870 Malý Rohozec at Turnov – January 23, 1937 Prague) was a prominent Czech historian of the turn of 19th and 20th century, professor and rector of Charles University in Prague.

List of philosophies

Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

Mihajlo Rostohar

Mihajlo Rostohar (July 30, 1878 – August 5, 1966) was a Slovenian psychologist, author and educator, who played an important role during the creation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Together with Ivan Hribar and Danilo Majaron, he had a crucial role in the establishment of the University of Ljubljana.

Radovan Richta

Radovan Richta (June 6, 1924 – July 21, 1983) was a Czech philosopher who coined the term technological evolution; a theory about how societies diminish physical labour by increasing mental labour. Richta was born in Prague.Richta's first work was Člověk a technika v revoluci našich dnů ("Man and Technology in the Revolution of Our Day"), published in 1963. This work did much to bring the concept of technology into the forefront of philosophical thought during the 1960s. Richta then went on to publish Civilizace na rozcestí ("Civilization at the Crossroads") in 1966. "Crossroads" was a compilation work published by 60 authors (including and led by Richta) that "attempt[ed] to analyze the social and human implications of the scientific and technological revolution". The concepts touched on in "Crossroads" are considered by some philosophical historians to be very ground-breaking for their time.

Richta developed the famous term of "Socialism with a human face" serving as a motto of the Prague Spring period. He became the director of the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (ČSAV - Československá akademie věd) in 1969 - 1982,.


Reflexe is a Czech academic journal containing original research, systematic reviews, and translations relating to the fields of philosophy and theology. It has been established by Ladislav Hejdánek. During the period of 1985–89 the journal was printed and distributed in the samizdat form. Reflexe has been published officially since 1990. The journal appears two times a year with Jakub Čapek as editor-in-chief.

Studia Theologica

Studia theologica (ISSN 1212-8570, in Czech and Slovak languages with English abstracts) is a peer-reviewed quarterly academic journal of theology, philosophy and church history. Since 1999, it is issued in co-operation of four Czech and Slovak theological colleges: St. Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology of Palacký University in Olomouc, Faculty of Theology of University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University in Prague and Theological Faculty of University of Trnava in Bratislava.

Czech Republic articles

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