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The Political Thought of Václav Havel

Philosophical Influences and Contemporary Applications

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Daniel Brennan

The book considers Václav Havel’s body of writing as a cohesive whole offering a consistent political philosophy. This bold claim is backed up through a close examination of Havel’s plays, letters, essays and aphorisms. The political philosophy that a close reading of Havel reveals is a liberal one. However, Havel is not the run-of the-mill liberal having influences from the field of phenomenology, Masaryk, Husserl, Levinas Patočka and Heidegger which give him a nuanced view of the self. Havel sees the self as something always being formed. Hence for Havel man has an ability to ‘shake’ his current state and invite transcendence into his life. This agonistic process reveals our responsibility and liberates the self from forces which coerce behaviour.

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Edited by Miira Tuominen, Sara Heinämaa and Virpi Mäkinen

New investigations on the content, impact, and criticism of Aristotelianism in Antiquity, the Late Middle Ages, and modern ethics show that Aristotelianism is not an obsolete monolithic doctrine but a living and evolving tradition within philosophy. Modern philosophy and science are sometimes understood as anti-Aristotelian, and Early Modern philosophers often conceived their philosophical project as opposing medieval Aristotelianism. New Perspectives on Aristotelianism and Its Critics brings to light the inner complexity of these simplified oppositions by analysing Aristotle’s philosophy, the Aristotelian tradition, and criticism towards it within three topics – knowledge, rights, and the good life – in ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy. It explores the resources of Aristotle’s philosophy for breaking through some central impasses and simplified dichotomies of the philosophy of our time.

Contributors are: John Drummond, Sabine Föllinger, Hallvard Fossheim, Sara Heinämaa, Roberto Lambertini, Virpi Mäkinen, Fred D. Miller, Diana Quarantotto, and Miira Tuominen