A ceremony dedicated to the renewal of Professor Barbara Skarga’s Ph.D., University of Warsaw, May 19, 2008
Opinion for the Senate of the University of Warsaw on Prof. Barbara Skarga’s doctorate renewal Prof. dr hab.* Wadysaw Stróewski Professor, habilitated Doctor, Barbara Skarga is the greatest living Polish philosopher. I say this knowing all too well that she will protest. In the book-length interview Inne- go koca wiata nie bdzie [There Will Be No Other End of the World], she said: “I do not consider myself a philosopher; I only philosophize now and then. When filling in a questionnaire, under ‘occupation’ I write ‘researcher,’ or ‘professor emeritus of the Institute,’ and that’s it. I never write ‘philosopher’ ” (Kraków 2007). And yet, if what it means to be a philosopher is to tackle the most basic issues and attempt to solve them at one’s own responsibility, then Barbara Skarga is a philosopher. Is she the most pro- minent one? It depends on the benchmark applied, and this can be disputed. According to my own criteria, the answer is: yes. “At one’s own responsibility” is not to say alone or in isolation. On the contrary, true philosophy was always formed in overt or covert dialogue, in creative continuation, or in protest. Prof. Skarga analyzes various philo- sophical ideas and systems, ancient and modern, mostly referring to Husserl, Heide- gger, and Lévinas. They inspire her, yet in her dialogue she can be their opponent. This way, her philosophizing is in direct contact, but also demonstrates a peculiar sort of tension, with the modern European philosophy, which...
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