Towards Scientific Metaphysics, Volume 1

In the Circle of the Scientific Metaphysics of Zygmunt Zawirski. Development and Comments on Zawirski’s Concepts and their Philosophical Context

by Krzysztof Śleziński (Author)
Monographs 166 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Preface
  • Outline of metaphysical research in Polish academic circles at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The philosophy of Zygmunt Zawirski
  • 1 Philosophy of natural science and the philosophy of nature
  • 1.1 Axiomatization of deductive theories
  • 1.2 Epistemological foundations of natural science
  • 1.3 Analysis of time, space and cosmology
  • 2 Logic and methodology of science
  • 2.1 Methodological problems in science
  • 2.2 Many-valued and intuitionistic logic and their applications in physics
  • 3 Meta-philosophy
  • 3.1 Ontological structure of reality
  • 3.2 Relations between the theory of reality and metaphysics, and science
  • 3.3 The problems of scientific metaphysics
  • Part Two: Critical remarks and comments on the concept of the scientific metaphysics of Zygmunt Zawirski
  • 1 On problem-rising axiomatization of mathematical natural science
  • 2 Justification in natural sciences and metaphysics
  • 3 Disputes over the synthesis of particular sciences
  • 4 On the relationship between science and metaphysics
  • Part Three: Selected works of Zygmunt Zawirski
  • 1 The significance of many-valued logic for epistemology and its connection with the probability calculus221
  • 2 Importance of logical and semantic research for the theory of modern physics227
  • 3 Comments on the natural sciences method232
  • 4 Toward the analysis of the scientific synthesis233
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index


The works undertaken in the field of logic, methodology and philosophy of science, and in particular the philosophy of nature and natural science testify to a solid preparation for the fundamental task of developing contemporary scientific philosophy. The emerging mathematical natural science did not have those possibilities that emerged in the 20th century and which Zawirski used. In the development of scientific metaphysics, he took into account both the achievements of modern logic and mathematics as well as physics. Zawirski builds scientific metaphysics by referring to empiricism, to broadly understood experience. Modern metaphysics should meet high standards of precision and uniqueness, which is why Zawirski attempts to apply the axiomatic method to both the analysis of the theory of physics and the scientific metaphysics.

The study of the concept of scientific metaphysics aims not only to show the historical importance of the achievements of native philosophy, but above all to pay attention to their timeliness. Conducted research on philosophy and the general theory of reality developed within its framework are to show how this project proposed by Zawirski was implemented by him, and to what extent it is still valid, due to the continuous development of natural science.

The first volume consists of three parts. In the first one, I discuss the most important areas of Zawirski’s colloquial research, highlighting many detailed issues that particularly demonstrate a very good knowledge of not only the ongoing methodological discussion outside of Poland, but also a very good knowledge of physical theories: relativity theory and quantum mechanics. Reflecting on the second law of thermodynamics, Zawirski developed the concept of time cycles, which is now one of the basic concepts of understanding the history of the Universe. Zawirski also notices that the content of new physical theories changes the understanding of many scientific concepts such as: causality principle, space, time, irreversibility of natural phenomena, etc. The leading issue, which Zawirski studies, is the possibility of applying the axiomatic method to the analyses of particular sciences. Zawirski was undoubtedly the first philosopher who used the axiomatic method in physics.

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When presenting the first part one cannot forget about Zawirski’s important achievements in the field of logical and methodological research. Zawirski developed many-valued logic, which he tried to use to develop quantum mechanics. In turn, the analysis of the results of methodological research is important because they have become recognized as permanently useful for the achievements of the philosophy of science. At the end of the first part we will go to the central issue of the two-volume monograph – the scientific metaphysics developed by Zawirski. At this point, I will discuss Zawirski’s views on the relation of scientific metaphysics to particular sciences and classical metaphysics and his position on the possibility of developing a synthesis of particular sciences.

In the second part, the previously discussed detailed problems of Zawirski’s philosophy will be subjected to critical analysis, taking into account parallel discussions in Polish academic circles. Confronting the results of Zawirski’s research with other methodological proposals and positions in the field of the possibility of synthesis of particular sciences and the development of scientific metaphysics, it will be possible to evaluate all of his scientific achievements and show them significantly for contemporary research. In this part we put a lot of questions-problems for which we will seek answers. We will be interested in the following issues: how and – if yes – whether all the results of Zawirski’s research in logic and methodology are in line with important scientific achievements? Is and – if yes – to what extent the building of scientific metaphysics can be recognized as a current research program? How much is the axiomatization of scientific theories still an important research venture? To what extent is it possible to build scientific metaphysics as a deductive system? Answers to the above questions will serve to compare the scientific results and scientific conception of metaphysics worked out by Zawirski with the results of scientific research of Benedykt Bornstein in the quest for the elaboration of an algebraic and geometric concept of scientific metaphysics.

In the third part, so as to document Zawirski’s research route, I will present some of his works from the most interesting areas of logic, methodology and meta-philosophy.

When analyzing Zawirski’s results of scientific research, it should be stated that he was a philosopher with a broad spectrum of interests in the ←24 | 25→philosophical assumptions and consequences resulting from the development of natural sciences. So as to arrive at a more complete illustration of his scientific involvement, I have made up my mind to present his biographical data below. This is important because it allows me to show – in the form of a critical analysis – many of his achievements and stages of the research carried out by him.

From the biography of Zygmunt Zawirski

Zygmunt Michał Zawirski was born on September 29, 1882 in Podolia in Berezowica Mała next to Zbaraż and died on April 2 in Końskie23. He was a son of Józef and Kamila Zawirska. Zygmunt Zawirski was a better than average learner24 in the 3rd Gymnasium in Lvov from 1893 till 1901. From 1901 till 1906 he studied at the Philosophical Faculty of Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov, his mentor being Professor Kazimierz Twardowski (1866–1938). During his studies he also attended other lectures delivered, among others, by Mścisław Wartenberg (1868–1938) on issues concerning metaphysics after Kant and Witold Rubczyński (1864–1938) on history of Greek philosophy. He also studied mathematics, physics and philosophy in Berlin (1910) and in Paris (1910). During his Berlin studies he attended the lectures delivered by Carl Stumpf, Georg Simmel and Alois Adolf Riehl.

In 1904 Zygmunt Zawirski became one of the founder members of the Polish Philosophical Society, originally founded by Kazimierz Twardowski in Lvov. He was granted the PhD degree in philosophy in July 1906 on the basis of his work entitled O modalności sądów, which was written under Professor Twardowski’s supervision. Zawirski belonged to the ←25 | 26→first generation of Twardowski’s students. Therefore, he is recognized by historians of philosophy as a co-founder of the famous The Lvov-Warsaw School (LWS).

After his graduation, he first (up till Septemebr 1906) began to work in the 4th Gymnasium25 in Lvov: since 1907 commenced his career as a teacher of philosophy, mathematics and physics in Gymnasium no.2 in Rzeszów. In January 1911, having completed his studies in Berlin and Paris, he started teaching in Gymnasium no.3 in Lvov. He also started to cooperate with a journal titled “Ruch Filozoficzny” and wrote many reports on books and reviews appearing in renowned French and German philosophical magazines such as “Revue Philosophique de la France et de L’étrange”, “Revue de Métaphysique et de Moral” and “Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie”. Apart from his reporting activities, he participated actively in the meetings of the Polish Philosophical Society in Lvov, presenting many papers developed in the form of scientific articles or more advanced writings. Zawirski achieved the first prize in the 3rd competition of “Przegląd Filozoficzny” in 1912 on the basis of his work entitled Przyczynowość a stosunek funkcjonalny. Studium z zakresu teorii poznania. In this work he demonstrated that it is impossible to reduce completely the notion of causality to the notion of functionality.

The period of the World War I resulted in a one-year-long gap in the scientific activity of Polish researchers. At that time Zawirski had left Lvov and returned in 1915 only to intensify his scientific activity. The subject of his interest included the following problems: hypothesis of constant returns of all-matters, inductive metaphysics, relations between metaphysics and science, detailed issues from logic and their significance in mathematical and natural research. The research conducted by him had an impact on the development of his opinions that were later expressed in the paper entitled Refleksja filozoficzna nad teorią względności (1920), and the following treaties: Relatywizm filozoficzny i fizykalna teoria względności (1921) and Metoda aksjomatyczna a przyrodoznawstwo (1923), which were the ←26 | 27→products of earlier written, but unpublished, writings such as O stosunku metafizyki do nauki (1919) and Nauka i metafizyka (1920).

Biographical notes

Krzysztof Śleziński (Author)

Krzysztof Śleziński is a professor of philosophy at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. His research and teaching interests focus on philosophy of nature, philosophy of science, ontology, philosophy of education and the history of philosophy in Poland.


Title: Towards Scientific Metaphysics, Volume 1