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Barbara Skarga in Memoriam

Series:

Magdalena Sroda and Jacek Migasinski

This volume is dedicated to Barbara Skarga – her works, profile and biography. It is a unique character in the Polish intellectual life, but also virtually unknown abroad, except a meager milieu of her readership in France. Dubbed «the first Lady of Polish Philosophy» for a good reason, she contributed not only to shape of Polish Philosophy but to the style of public debate, too. The problem areas initiating her philosophy stemmed from the group of scholars called «the Warsaw school of history of Ideas» with its flagship names such as Leszek Kołakowski, Brinisław Baczko or Andrzej Walicki. On the other hand, her output originates from the extraordinary and dramatic events of her life. The philosophical output of Barbara Skarga is thus a proof of continuity and longevity of an important tradition of the 20 th century Polish Philosophy.

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A ceremony dedicated to the renewal of Professor Barbara Skarga’s Ph.D., University of Warsaw, May 19, 2008

Extract

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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