Radovan Richta

Radovan Richta

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Radovan Richta was a Czech philosopher who coined the term technological evolution
Technological evolution
Technological evolution is the name of a science and technology studies theory describing technology development, developed by Czech philosopher Radovan Richta.-Theory of technological evolution:...

; a theory about how societies diminish physical labour by increasing mental labour. Richta was born in Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...


Richta's first work was Člověk a technika v revoluci našich dnů ("Man and Technology in the Revolution of Our Day"), published in 1963. This work did much to bring the concept of technology into the forefront of philosophical thought during the 1960s. Richta then went on to publish Civilizace na rozcestí ("Civilization at the Crossroads") in 1966. "Crossroads" was a compilation work published by 60 authors (including and led by Richta) that "attempt[ed] to analyze the social and human implications of the scientific and technological revolution". The concepts touched on in "Crossroads" are considered by some philosophical historians to be very ground-breaking for their time.

Richta developed the famous term of "Socialism with a human face" serving as a motto of the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 period. He became the director of the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences
Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences
The Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was established in 1953 to be the scientific center for Czechoslovakia. It was succeeded by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1992.-History:...

 (ČSAV - Československá akademie věd) in 1969 - 1982,.


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Richta organized a resistance movement against the Nazis, and his organization became part of the communist resistance in the critical moment of the worst persecution (or man-hunting). Richta was arrested and held prisoner for several months. He was saved by the Swiss Red Cross when they collected prisoners with the worst cases of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and extracted them to Switzerland. Shortly after the rescue Ritcha's former fellow prisoners were executed on May 2, 1945.The translation is vague - the author could have meant the prisoners were killed without sentence.

After the war Richta became quite ill, and beginning in 1958 he periodically spent time in sanatoria. In between bouts of sickness, and in a compromise with his doctors who prescribed complete bed rest, Richta studied and worked very hard.

In the 1960s Richta took on the role of the leader of an interdisciplinary research team. In 1963 they released their first works - Člověk a technika v revoluci našich dnů ("Man and technology in the revolution of our days") and Komunismus a proměny lidského života (K povaze humanismu naší doby) ("Communism and changes of human life. To the nature of humanism of our time").

Selected Works

  1. (1963) Člověk a technika v revoluci našich dnů ("Man and technology in the revolution of our days"); Published by Czechoslovak society "for the dissemination of political and scientific knowledge" in Prague.
  2. (1963) Komunismus a proměny lidského života (K povaze humanismu naší doby) ("Communism and changes of human life. To the nature of humanism of our time"); Part 1 of Richta's PhD dissertation, published by Czechoslovak society "for the dissemination of political and scientific knowledge". The word 'science' in Czech is used to mean any of the traditional sciences such as mathematics
    Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

     or biology
    Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

    , as well as humanities
    The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

     like philosophy
    Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

    , linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

     or, history
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

    , or to mean all sciences and humanities together - i.e. to describe an effort to learn what is unknown.
  3. (1969) Civilizace na rozcestí - společenské a lidské souvislosti vědecko-technické revoluce ("Civilization at the crossroads - the social and human context of scientific-technical revolution") (Collective work). Published by Liberty in Prague, 1st edition 1966, 2nd edition 1967, 3rd edition 1969.
  4. (1971) Vědecko-technická revoluce a socialismus ("Scientific-technological revolution and socialism"); (R. Richta - J. Filipec).
  5. (1974) Člověk - věda - technika. K marxisticko - leninské analýze VTR Kolektivní práce pod vedením B. M. Kedrova, R. Richty, S. P. Odujeva ("Man-science-technology. The Marxist-Leninist analysis of STR"; Collective work under leadership of Kedrov, Richta, Odujev." STR = Scientific-technological revolution)
  6. (1967) Vědecko-technická revoluce a marxismus ("Scientific-technological revolution and marxism"); Published in monthly issues of peace and socialism - 1.
  7. Ekonomika jako civilizační dimenze ("Economy as a dimension of civilization"); Contribution for the Proceedings of the Institute of Economic Sciences (K. Kouba). Resource No. 42 team in an interdisciplinary FU Academy of Sciences.
  8. (1968) Vědecko-technická revoluce a alternativy moderní civilizace ("Scientific-technological revolution and the alternatives of modern civilization"); Published in the journal Sociological č.5/1968.
  9. (1975) Krize perspektiv buržoazní společnosti ("The crisis of the perspectives of the bourgeois society") Abbreviated as printed in the monthly New Idea No. 1 / 1975.

See also

  • History of technology
    History of technology
    The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques, and is similar in many ways to the history of humanity. Background knowledge has enabled people to create new things, and conversely, many scientific endeavors have become possible through technologies which assist...

  • Informational Revolution
    Informational revolution
    The term information revolution describes current economic, social and technological trends beyond the Industrial Revolution....

  • Sociocultural evolution
    Sociocultural evolution
    Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have changed over time...

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