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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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Karol Toeplitz A FAREWELL TO PROFESSOR LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI (1927–2009) ABSTRACT The author presents Leszek Kołakowski from the perspective of his private acquaintanceship, lasting for about 47 years, as a witty man and a workaholic. L. Kołakowski never formed a clas- sic “school”, but there is something all his disciples share: a thesis, key to understanding his ideas, which holds that “THERE IS MORE THAN ONE CORRECT OPINION IN THE HU- MANITIES”, i.e. we will ALWAYS have opinions for and against, which goes against any dog- matism, wherever it may appear; this also bears consequences in diagnosing the socio-political reality past and present. Writing this text does not come easy to me. It is not going to be a discussion of Professor, Leszek Kołakowski’s works. Instead, I set out to give a personal ac- count of those years of mutual contact. My acquaintance with Leszek lasted for 47 years, it began in 1962. I do not call him by his first name simply because it is customary in Poland to do so upon a person’s death; in fact, he suggested that we should come to first-name terms in the late 1970s, and I honestly do not know how I deserved that. Later, he called me an “old friend”. I was one of the five doctors the Master had supervised; I have called him Master for decades. We have been scattered throughout Poland: Warszawa, Łódź, Poznań, Kraków and Sopot; the five of us—today holding the...

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