The Jan Patočka Memorial Medal

awarded by the Czech Academy of Sciences

This medal was established by the Academic Council of the Czech Academy of Sciences to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the birth of Prof. Jan Patočka and the 20th anniversary of his death.

It is awarded to recognise the contributions made by Czech or foreign scholars, or by individuals whose effort have significantly supported the advancement of science.

Jan Patočka (1907–1977), one of the leading modern Czech thinkers, worked at the Philosophical Institute of the Academy of Sciences since 1958 to 1972. He was a Professor at Charles University. However, he was obliged to retire early because of his political views. He was a co-author of Charter 77 and, together with Václav Havel and Jiří Hájek, one of its first spokesmen. He died on March 13, 1977, following a police interrogation.

Jan Patočka's scholarly work is truly extensive. It includes a number of important monographs such as „The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem“ (in Czech „Přirozený svět jako filozofický problém“), „Aristotle: his Forerunners and Heirs“ (in Czech „Aristotelés, jeho předchůdci a dědicové“), works on Socrates and Plato, as well as Czech translations of Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind and Esthetics. Some of Patočka's penetrating studies could not be published during his lifetime but have appeared in the posthumous work „Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History“ (in Czech „Kacířské eseje o filozofii dějin“).

Jan Patočka made significant contributions to the solution of a number of current problems in world philosophy, following upon the work of E. Husserl, especially in area of phenomenology, and he contributed extraordinarily toward acceptance of many of these ideas by Czech philosophical thought. With his philosophical views and personal attitudes, he deeply influenced several generations of Czech philosophers.

The Jan Patočka Memorial Medal was designed by Prof. Jiří Harcuba (1928–2013), a glass engraver, sculptor and medallist, student of Prof. Štipl at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.

List of awarded medals