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The War on Concepts: The Thought of Jan Patočka and the War on Terror

Author(s): Katy Scrogin

Journal: Kritike : An Online Journal of Philosophy
ISSN 1908-7330

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 68;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Jan Patočka | concepts | war on terror

Along with the notion of war in general, the so-called war on terror has been, since its inception in 2001, the subject of much debate and theorization. French thinker Gilles Andréani discusses the appropriateness of the term "war" to apply to the present conflict; Antonio Negri has argued how the State's use of the concept of peace justifies its engagement in warfare in general. I approach the conversation, however, by presenting the thoughts of 20th century Czech philosopher Jan Patočka on the relationship between war and peace. Here, I utilize his views, formulated in the context of Soviet control of Eastern Europe, to deconstruct the Bush administration's declaration of war on a concept; in this case, terror. In what follows, I delineate the main aspects of Patočka's understanding of continuous warfare in the 20th century, after which I apply them to some of the central features of the Bush administration's war rhetoric. Additionally, I suggest that Patočka's notion of the solidarity of the shaken may provide a starting point from which all of those involved in the conflict may begin to move forward.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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