Karol Toeplitz: A FAREWELL TO PROFESSOR LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI(1927–2009)
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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