Against this conceptual background, the talk will explore the tradition of legal normativism and Hans Kelsen’s adoption of political imaginaries of democracy as a critical response to the varieties of legal and political existentialism in the early 20th century. Subsequently, this tradition will be contrasted to the more recent philosophy of Jan Patočka, particularly his critique of instrumental and abstract reason typical of modern society and its totalitarian tendencies. Highlighting his notion of dissent as a negative voice of daimonion, the talk will outline its importance for modern democracies associated with legitimation by consensus and human rights. The contrast of the imaginaries of democracy and dissent will be employed to recover an idea of humanity beyond the human condition.
Jiří Přibáň is an author, translator and essayist specializing in the areas of philosophy of law, sociology and politology. He is Professor of Law at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics and a graduate of Charles University in Prague, where he was appointed Professor of Legal Theory, Philosophy and Sociology in 2002, and has been a Visiting Professor or scholar at the European University Institute in Florence, the University of California in Berkeley, and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, among others. His latest book The Defence of Constitutionalism: The Czech Question in Post-national Europe was published by Karolinum in 2017.