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Leszek Kołakowski in Memoriam

Series:

Jacek Migasinski

This volume is devoted to the person and work of Leszek Kołakowski, who died in July 2009. At the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, Leszek Kołakowski belonged to a group of young intellectuals actively supporting on the «ideological front» and in the University of Warsaw the new political agendas of Marxist provenance introduced in Poland. But already in 1955-56, he came to the fore of a movement of philosophical revisionists radically questioning the validity of these Marxist prescriptions. This resulted in his expulsion from the Communist Party in the early 1960s, then from the University and finally from Poland after the «March events» in 1968. Presented in this volume are, on the one hand, texts drawing up a historical balance sheet of theoretical achievements of Leszek Kołakowski (articles by Andrzej Walicki and Andrew Targowski), and, on the other, essays devoted to certain aspects of his philosophical position (articles by Marcin Król, Zofia Rosińska, Janusz Dobieszewski, Witold Mackiewicz and Janusz Kuczyński). Also presented in this volume are some occasional essays sketching a portrait of Leszek Kołakowski (by Marek J. Siemek, Karol Toeplitz and Jerzy Szacki). The book is closed with an extensive bibliography.

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Foreword

Extract

We hereby hand to the reader a volume devoted to the person and work of Leszek Kolakowski, who died in July 2009. Leszek Kolakowski is in the world a well-known figure, so there is no need to recall here in detail his biography and his creative achievements – especially that the texts published in this volume refer to that at many points. Just at the outset it suffice to remind that Leszek Kolakowski is commonly recognized as one of the most eminent contemporary Polish philosophers, and that in the evolution of his worldview and theoretical position one can see a paradigmatic pattern of attitude changes of the intellec- tual elites in Poland after World War II. At the turn of the 1940s and 1950s Leszek Kolakowski belonged to a group of young intellectuals actively supporting on the “ideological front” and in the University the new political agendas of Marxist provenance introduced in Po- land. But already in 1955-56 he came to the fore of a movement of philosophical revisionists radically questioning the validity of these Marxist prescriptions. This resulted in his expulsion from the Communist Party in the early ’60s, then from the University, and finally from Poland after the “March events” in 1968. Until then, however, Kolakowski had already become one of the pillars of the so- called “Warsaw School of the Historians of Ideas”, among prominent represen- tatives of which should also be counted Bronislaw Baczko, Andrzej Walicki, and Jerzy Szacki. While in exile Leszek Kolakowski could not participate...

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