The Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences is a non-university research institution whose principal aim is to contribute to the global development of philosophy and related scholarly disciplines (such as classics, medieval studies, J. A. Comenius studies, the theory of science, and global studies).
In addition to promoting basic research with the goal of expanding knowledge on an international scale, researchers at the Institute of Philosophy also address the cultural needs of contemporary Czech society. Their tasks include, for example, interpreting and discussing the relevance of international philosophical developments with regard to the Czech academic context, enabling philosophy and associated humanistic fields in the Czech Republic to remain in contact with and actively contribute to Europe-wide and worldwide scholarship. The Institute's researchers also contribute to Czech national identity through the critical investigation of Czech and Central European history with a focus on the historical contributions of significant thinkers. The results of researchers' work include scholarly books and articles (published within the Czech Republic as well as internationally), academic conferences, colloquia, and lectures.
The Institute of Philosophy, which is the largest humanities-focused or social science-focused institute affiliated with the Czech Academy of Sciences, is currently divided into twelve research teams (a list of these teams, as well as information about the overall structure of the Institute, can be found in the organisational schemes of the Institute and its component parts). These scholarly units focus on the three main thematic areas:
1) Current issues of contemporary philosophy and philosophical aspects of related scholarly disciplines (the Department of Analytic Philosophy; the Department of Logic; the Department of Contemporary Continental Philosophy; the Department for the Study of Modern Rationality; the Department of Moral and Political Philosophy together with the Centre for Global Studies; and the Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies).
2) The history of European and Czech philosophical thought (the Department for the Study of Ancient and Medieval Thought; the Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History; the Centre for Theoretical Study/Jan Patočka Archive; the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy).
3) Selected topics from related humanistic disciplines, especially classics and medieval studies (the Centre for Medieval Studies; the Centre for Biblical Studies—jointly affiliated with the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University, institutionally under the Institute of Philosophy; and the Centre for Theoretical Study).
The Institute closely cooperates with universities and other research institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad. Together with its partner universities it oversees doctoral studies in five areas, which enable students to make use of the research infrastructure of the Institute of Philosophy and to work with the Institute's researchers as academic advisors. The Institute of Philosophy, together with respected research institutions in other countries, takes part in a number of research projects. At present, the Institute is involved in a large number of international and domestic collaborative projects. Every year a number of foreign researchers also carry out research stays at the Institute.
In 2018 an international advisory council as a permanent advisory body to the Director was established. The role of the Council is to provide the Institute with continuous advisory work on its research activities, in particular on important issues such as the creation and implementation of scientific conceptions, development of the scientific disciplines, establishment of international cooperation, participation in foreign projects and on the ongoing assessment of the Institute’s activities.
The Institute organizes international and domestic academic conferences, workshops, lectures, and seminars. It publishes eight scholarly journals (including Filosofický časopis [the Philosophical Journal] and Listy filologické [Folia filologica]), and it runs its own publishing house Filosofia, which not only provides a platform for the publication of original research in philosophy and related humanistic fields, but also enables the appearance of Czech translations of internationally important work in these fields.
The Institute of Philosophy's library, which is open to the public, houses a specialized collection of more than 110,000 volumes. The Institute also organizes and offers its scholarly expertise to educational and popularizing events intended for the broad, non-specialist public.
The Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences was created in 1990 as a continuation of the Philosophy Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which was founded on January 1, 1953 and was abolished for political reasons in 1970. On January 1, 2007 the Institute was transformed into a public research institution.