András Mészáros: National Philosophy – Similarities and Differences in Hungarian and Slovak philosophical history writing

When the Hungarian philosophy-history writing deals with the period before the one of Hungarian language writing of the so-called national philosophy history, and/or with the functions of school philosophy, it is inevitable to face that fact that the same authors and works compose the subject of – in our case Slovak – philosophy history.

Problems resulting from it arise serious methodical issues.
The mentioned fact itself is not the problem yet, since the joint past, and that from the 16th to the second half of the 18th century Upper Hungary and/or Transylvania were in the focus of the Hungarian philosophy, obviously enables the Slovak reserachers to examine the philosophical traditions of Upper Hungary from the point of view of their own culture history. Not mentioning that from one hand to the beginning of the 19th century „Hungarian consciousness“ set obstacles to minority classifications, on the other hand Slovakia of recent understanding did not exist, i.e. we cannot talk about institutionalised Slovak culture. We can state that one of the basic difference of Hungarian and Slovak handling of the issue to the middle of the 20th century is that to the interpretation of national philosophy already in the 19th century in case of Hungarians two tasks are connected: the first is translating terminology, and the second is the disclosure of the past of philosophy. In the background of these differences there are even institutional reasons: the Hungarians had and the Slovaks did not have such institutions that by supporting professionalisation of philosophy would espouse the mentioned roles.
The question of continuity, in my opinion, can be answered only such way that we define the so-called cultural environment with that institutional system within which philosophy is present. If we look at the Hungarian and Slovak philosophy history from this view, then we meet a certain postponement in time. Behind the Hungarian philosophy there was the Hungarian Scientific Company (in Hungarian: Magyar Tudós Társaság – later Hungarian Scientific Academy MTA), from the end of the 19th century the philosophical periodicals, translations of the most important works of the European philosophy, departments philosophy in Pest and Kolozsvár universities etc. This kind of professionalisation of the Slovak philosophy took place during the 20th century, between the two world wars, mainly with the help of Czech teachers of the University in Bratislava, and after the creation of the Slovak state with the launch of the first professional periodical.