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Publication Details

The Reflection of the Enlightenment Philosophy in Z. T. Huszty’s Works

(Original title: Odraz osvietenskej filozofie v dielach Z. T. Husztyho)
Filozofia, 26 (1971), 1, 66-81.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
Z. T. Huszty, an Enlightenment physician from Bratislava (1754 — 1804), whose works had found a considerable response even behind the Hungarian borders (and the recent special literature also pays attention to them), dealt with medical problems first of all, with the reforms of pharmacy, with so called medical police, a predecessor of modern social hygiene. In this chief work Diskurs fiber die medizinische Polizei, 1786, Huszty achieved even a synthesis of thoughts. The basis of his philosophical conception is formed by the ideas of the Enlightenment, marked by his original views. Unlike the other authors in Slovakia writing in Slovak and Latin, whose ideas were analyzed by T. Miinz (1961), Huszty does not take support of the German philosophers, but of the radical representatives of the French and English Enlightenment, namely of Voltaire. This is where his more radical views, in comparison with the other Slovak authors, stem from. Huszty proclaims unity of science and philosophy in the antipositivist sense; according to him philosophy is not a superior, speculative science based on dogmas, but a notional nucleus of all sciences, a dialectical science that is supported by the method of induction, empirism and experiment. The author analyzes Huszty’s views on knowledge, logic, ethics, aesthetics and religion. Huszty proclaimed deist ideas, according to the model of the French deists. He believes that man’s mission is bound to earth only and that „he himself is the helmsman that controls the helm of his owm destiny“. He negates the importance of religion and denies the spiritual prerogatives of churches. He refuses metaphysics and we can even come across materialistic elements and tendencies. In the question of social development and of the form of government, he naturally did not avoid the essential error of the enlighteners who took the absolutist system for an ideal solution, but with many of his progressive social-political ideas he stands alone in the Slovak Enlightenment literature (the Jewish question, views on „the working people“ and „non-working“ classes, etc.). He presented also practical proposals (e.g. a free-of-charge medical care for the working people, and others) which together with his philosophical conception reserve a special place for him among other Enlightenment authors in Slovakia.
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