An Intercultural Reading of Patocka’s Concept of Sacrifice


In this paper I argue Patocka’s concept of sacrifice provides a phenomenological model for understanding the experience of sacrifice, as well as for criticizing its misuse for religious or political purposes. In order to appreciate Patocka’s contribution to the philosophical inquiry regarding sacrifice, it is instructive to consider his thought within an intercultural context by comparing it to the perverted form of sacrifice found among Islamic terrorists and by drawing the example of Buddhist and Japanese practices of self-sacrifice. I maintain that Patocka’s concept of sacrifice shows intercultural validity without being limited to the European or Christian context. His insight not only provides an unrelenting critique of the war experience in the last century but also delivers a timely critique of the unceasing terrorist attacks nowadays.

Keywords: sacrifice, mobilization, politics, community, intercultural philosophy

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