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Towards the World Culture Society

Florian Znaniecki’s Culturalism


Elzbieta Halas

If the new cultural sociology is to gain firm grounds, it should rediscover the classic studies on cultural dynamics and cultural systems. This book contributes to a better understanding of Florian Znaniecki as an eminent culturologist and the lasting relevance of his theory of cultural becoming. Znaniecki opted for a humanistic approach that he called culturalism. Culturalism, founded on the principle of the humanistic coefficient, is applied also to the cultural person. The concept of social values makes this cultural approach an original one. The cultural logic and cultural ethos of Znaniecki’s thought is inherent in the very principle of a creative evolution of culture, augmenting his vision of a new civilization of the future and a world culture society.


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7 Action as a Dynamic System of Experiences and Values / 107


For the Intellectual Authority of Florian Znaniecki Without undertaking the risky endeavor of confronting Znaniecki’s conception with the hermeneutical approach, I would nevertheless like to refer to Hans Georg Gadamer’s position on authority in science. Gadamer recognizes its necessity and at the same time a need for constant reflection on authority ( Bronk 1982: 290). The reference to Gadamer’s idea here is not accidental, since the historical point of view and a relativist approach to scientific systems was common to both thinkers. Gadamer, like Edmund Husserl, Alfred Schütz or Max Weber is an example of authority within a particular scholarly tradition, and even their critics do not question their outstanding role. Referring to Gadamer’s position I would like to make the motive for the discus- sion presented here quite clear: to show that Znaniecki should belong to the leading authorities in the field of cultural sciences. His work cannot be portrayed as simply another case of unnoticed discovery in the history of science, another Ludwik Fleck from the East ( Merton 1982; Fleck 1986). Znaniecki is not yet another ‘unrecognized forerunner’ ( Ha∏as 1983), a thinker parallel to ‘great’ authorities, formulating his ideas not distinctively enough, and building conceptions that are not weighty enough. On the contrary. According to Znaniecki, knowledge is neither a matter of speculation nor does it consist in technical manipulation, but it is a creative act. His system should be presented as creative since he fully deserves to be called the ‘discoverer of truth’, not...

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