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Witkacy. Logos and the Elements


Edited By Teresa Pękala

This book focuses on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, philosopher and controversial artist. It expresses the opinions of philosophers, museologists and artists, for whom Stanisław Ignacy Witkacy’s 130th birthday anniversary became an opportunity to view his works from the perspective of postmodernity. The authors concentrate on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz as eminent and prophetic philosopher concerned about Western culture with its waning metaphysical feelings, master of gesture and poses, anticipating the postmodern theatricalization of life.

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Between Psychophysics and Somaesthetics. Witkacy’s Epistolary Self-Portrait (Irena Górska)


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Irena Górska

Between Psychophysics and Somaesthetics Witkacy’s Epistolary Self-Portrait

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, called Witkacy, was undoubtedly far ahead of his time not only as an artist or author of esthetic theories but also as a philosopher. His conception of psychophysics is a good example supporting the statement. While building in the 1920s and 1930s his system of corporeal (or biological, materialistic) monadology, Witkacy assumed that whole Being is alive and, what is more, it possesses a soul, and that monads, or Individual Beings, are a unity of body and soul. Without going into further details and disputable issues of Witkacy’s concept which may seem rather extravagant – as Maciej Dombrowski put it (Dombrowski, 2014; 154) – the most significant aspect of the discussion is the fact that Witkacy suggests a holistic approach to a human being, seeing it as a psychophysical structure. Expressing the belief that spiritual and corporeal elements are of equal importance, he restores the status of body, which was ignored by the post-Kantian tradition. We can thus say that psychophysics anticipates not only the phenomenological approach but it also proves to be astonishingly consistent with Richard Shusterman’s concept – somaesthetic philosophy, which was proposed much later than phenomenology.

What psychophysics and somaesthetics have in common is their critical attitude to philosophical views which represent a dualist (critical) approach to human existence. Thus, both of them eliminate the division into the physical/corporeal and the mental/spiritual and they stress the reciprocal...

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