Research abstract: Jan Hus in the world of Boolean calculus: epistemic dimensions of searching for “the truth” in modern society

The authority of science enjoys highly privileged position in Western societies. The institution of modern science creates general framework into which we deliver our personal motives and motivations, plans and desires, courses of our day-to-day lives. This might be also noticeable when we make sense of historical phenomena. Although we are hardly able to experience the French Revolution, the Thirty Years’ War, or 13th century Crusades, we nevertheless don’t find it strange to talk about them – often going into the most bizarre details – with flagrant confidence. Nevertheless, however close we can get to the epistémé of certain times, we still have to bear in minds that our knowledge is utterly limited, construed, and influenced by a myriad of diverse factors. History can never be “truthful” in a sense of an absolute knowledge.

Yet, it can be “truthful” in a sense of lived experience. From the phenomenological point of view, then, the general framework of modern science provides us with ready-to-use repertoires of patterns we follow in order to look for practical solutions in our daily lives, to make our life-worlds meaningful and understandable in more and more intricate and contra-intuitive discourses of present world.

In order to show ambiguities and complexities of this process, I will analyze how different actors assign meaning to historical phenomena connected to 15th century Bohemian priest, philosopher, and catholic reformer Jan Hus – an iconic figure of Czech history. I will investigate 1/ In which way Jan Hus fits into the contemporary Western society which has become unthinkable without mentioning its dependency on the institution of modern science; 2/ How is the historical figure of Jan Hus articulated in broad spectrum of cultural artifacts including art, exhibitions, books, pop-culture, etc., with particular emphasis on the notion of searching for “the truth”.

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