Slovakia, philosophy in

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N082-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

3. Twentieth century philosophy

When Slovakia became part of the independent Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, a new situation arose. Slovak intellectual life flourished and became the potential repository of a new philosophical culture. Contact with the more progressive Czech philosophy became more intensive (Czech philosophers lectured at the newly founded university in Bratislava). Direct contacts with contemporary European thinkers also increased. The influence of Masaryk’s philosophy continued to be strong, particularly in the work of Svätopluk Štúr who also made use of ideas from Benedetto Croce and J.L. Fischer in his search for a synthetic type of rationalism. Classical positivism prevailed in the work of Jozef Koreň and Samuel Š. Osuský, ideologically influenced by the Protestant tradition.

An important event in Slovak intellectual life was the establishment in 1937 of the Association for Scientific Synthesis which brought together researchers from different scientific fields. This association emphasized the use of methodological principles taken from neopositivism and structuralism. The leading figure was Igor Hrušovský who, even after accepting the basic theses of Marxism after 1945, remained the dominant figure of Slovak philosophy, and created a new concept of dialectical structurology.

When the Communist Party regained power in 1948, a Marxist orientation was enforced and subsequently dominated public Slovak philosophy. Historians of philosophy such as E.Várossová, T. Münz, J. Bodnár, J. Kocka, M. Burica, M. Zigo and others began to free themselves from ideological oppression, and many published valuable works. These were followed by works of authors from other philosophical disciplines, and Slovak translations of philosophical classics achieved important success.

After 1968, in the period of the totalitarian regime, philosophers Milan Šimečka and Miroslav Kusý worked in the dissident movement. Their works, analysing the problems of the time, were published illegally or abroad. In the 1980s, the younger generation of Slovak philosophers began publishing the results of their research on the history of philosophy, the problems of phenomenology, existentialism, analytic philosophy, the Frankfurt School and also on postmodern trends. However, it was only after the fall of the totalitarian regime in 1989 that complete freedom of philosophical activity became possible.

Citing this article:
Zumr, Josef. Twentieth century philosophy. Slovakia, philosophy in, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N082-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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