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Leszek Kołakowski in Memoriam


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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Janusz Kuczyński THE UNIVERSALISM OF JOHN PAUL II— THE UNIVERSALISM OF LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI. AFTERWORD INTRODUCTION It is quite probable that current developments will result in a growing and ulti- mately explosive antinomy between different groups of human beings and soci- ety—and perhaps even our civilization’s self-destruction—as political threats mount alongside the ever-lurking metaphysical dangers stemming from human- ity’s frailties and contradictions, its existential dimension and religious, cogni- tive, existential, ontic and axiological incertitude. Modern (also contemporary) history tells of repeated genocide committed in the very heart of Europe and instances when mankind virtually toyed with (self-)annihilation. Already Russell and Einstein warned of the danger of nuclear self- destruction, today largely averted by the end of the Cold War. But is the nuclear spectre not haunting us again today, evident in the increasingly frequent instan- ces of technological failure (even of rocket missiles) and fears that today’s terro- rism, be it biological, chemical—or quite soon perhaps even nuclear – may soon evolve into a civilizational clash? In this situation, it will clearly be necessary to seek effective remedies— mainly by reaching into the “spiritual” and material sources of such threats. Not the usual solutions will be needed but rather “symptomatic” and improvised measures, as applied e.g. in ecology (and analyzed alternately by the Meadows, Uexull, several Nobelists, and Dialogue and Universalism). The need for such measures is especially pressing in light of the rising threat of biological, bacte- riological and chemical warfare. The vanquished Cold War...

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