Andrew Targowski: LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI IN THE WEST AND IN POLAND(1927–2009)
Andrew Targowski LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI IN THE WEST AND IN POLAND (1927–2009) The eminent Polish philosopher Leszek Kołakowski died on July 17, 2009. A lec- turer in Canada and the US for 41 years and at Oxford University since 1970 fol- lowing his 1968 expulsion from the University of Warsaw, Leszek Kołakowski was living proof that ideas lead to revolution. His ideas (and his students) in- spired the 1980 Solidarity Revolution in Poland in result of which Poland re- gained independence and another Pole, Professor Jerzy Buzek, became Presi- dent of the European Parliament in 2009. This is truly a monumental achieve- ment for one philosopher. Let us recount the facts. In 1957, a year after the Polish October of 1956, the professor of the University of Warsaw, Leszek Kołakowski, published four arti- cles in the Paris-based Polish periodical “Kultura”, in which he analyzed the dogmatism and historical determinism of Soviet Marxism. The fact alone that an intellectual from communist Poland managed to publish his work in “Kultura” was quite a heroic feat in itself. Kołakowski subsequently concluded, that the heinous Stalinist system was no aberration but a logical consequence of Marx- ism, which he outlined in his monumental work Main Currents of Marxism (1976–1978). In 1965, together with Maria Ossowska and Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Koła- kowski authored an expert opinion on the meaning of the notion “information”, which was used in the court defense of Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski, ac- cused...
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