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Faces of the Enlightenment

Philosophical sketches

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Zbigniew Drozdowicz

The author of this book speaks out again in regard to the Enlightenment. His inspiration comes not only from new observations occasioned by own studies, but also from the recently read material as well as opinions and appraisals of the era articulated lately at academic conferences. Although they have not led the author to perform a fundamental revision of his views in regard to the nature of Enlightenment and its crucial contributions to the Western culture, they did afford a better understanding of its complexity. They also made him more aware that his interpretation and presentation of that era depends considerably on what its prominent representatives had to say, as well as on the worldview-based assumptions and methods of appraisal adopted by its later observers and interpreters.

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Cartesian Rationalism

Understanding Descartes

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Zbigniew Drozdowicz

Descartes gave the human intellect the central role in rationalism, his system therefore is a variant of intellectual rationalism. Other forms of rationalism had emerged in scholastic philosophy and the ancient philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. While Descartes had reservations with respect to all of them, he still adopted some of their elements: not even such a self-directed and critical philosopher as Descartes could have proceeded on the difficult journey towards truth without any baggage of tradition whatsoever. Those who treated this baggage as a useless burden and have attempted to pursue truth without carrying it, have only discovered things which had long been known.
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Academic Culture

Traditions and the Present Day

Zbigniew Drozdowicz

The author of this book formulates a general thesis that in the academic culture, since the emergence of the first universities until this very day, two types of that culture have competed with each other, i.e., a corporate and templar one. In his remarks, the author tries to highlight it through the presentation of:

1. The functioning of academia in different time periods, 2. The beliefs of scholars, 3. The ways scholarly achievements have been evaluated, 4. The legal acts for science and academia. A considerable part of this study is devoted to the analysis of the Polish academic culture, including the attempts of adjusting the existing standards of conducting research and educating students to the ones prevailing in the leading Western countries.

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La république des savants

Sans révérence

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Zbigniew Drozdowicz

Dans ce que l'auteur de ce livre dit au sujet de la république des savants, il tente d'éviter le pathos que l'on rencontre non seulement sur les pages hagiographiques, mais aussi dans des discours de circonstance ou celui de louange (par exemple, ceux qu'on prononce à toutes sortes d'anniversaires et enterrements). Cela justifie le titre choisi : sans révérence. Cependant, dans la vie universitaire, il existe des situations où un pathos spécifique est non seulement indiqué, mais également attendu, et son absence pourrait témoigner d'un manque de savoir-être universitaire.

Le but de ces considérations n’est pas de diminuer la valeur de ce qui, en vérité, n’apparaît pas aussi grand qu’on ne le pense, mais personne ne souhaite qu'on lui rappelle ses plus grandes faiblesses. Cependant, rappeler celles qui sont plus légères est nécessaire pour éviter la surestime de soi.