Spinozalens, een onderscheiding voor 
denkers over ethiek
Press release

Spinozalens-laureate 2018 and dead thinker announced

Within the theme “Europe”, the International Spinoza prize Foundation honours as “dead” thinker Jan Patočka (1907-1977). Patočka is considered one of the most important Czech philosophers, and one of the main twentieth century philosophers in Central Europe. He was not just a philosopher but an activist as well who died in prison after long interrogation by the secret service.

Patočka was founder of  ‘Charta 77’, the manifest that appealed to the Czechoslovakian government to actually comply with the Helsinki agreement that it had signed, and to add legal force to universal human rights. Patočka was the main source of inspiration to Václav Havel, member of Charta 77 and later president of the Czech Republic. Patočka has helped form the movement that has eventually driven out communism.  The tandem Patočka-Havel  have been crucial pioneers of the European reunification after the end of the Cold Was – in idea, word and action.


Today is Spinoza’s birthday, and we also announce the Spinozalens laureate 2018. Dominique Moïsi (1947) is an influential French-Jewish political scientist and a widely acclaimed international relations expert. In Paris, the city where he lives, he is working with the Institut Montaigne, and he is co-founder of the Institut français des Relations Internationales.

Moïsi is the author of various highly praised books. The most well-known, The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World, has been translated in Dutch.  The possibility of hope after fear and humiliation is a message that both jury and foundation wish to strongly support.


In November 2018 the Spinozalens laureate will receive in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague a sculpture and ten thousand euros, handed to him by the mayor. At the occasion, a special publication will be presented as an introduction to the laureate’s work.

Like previous  “dead” thinkers  Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant and  Arendt, Patočka will be honoured with a teaching letter for secundary and higher education.  It will be published in 2018.

Stichting Internationale Spinozaprijs

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