Poznań Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities

Mission Statement

Poznań Studies has been founded in 1975 by Prof. dr hab. Leszek Nowak. Poznań Studies is managed in Poland (at the University of Warsaw) and published in the Netherlands and the U.S.A. by Rodopi. This is a reflection of a deeper character of the series which, in turn, is a remnant of the still enduring effects of the Iron Curtain.

When Poznań Studies was founded, the Iron Curtain has been successfully drawn. Little that was happening in the West could trickle through, and still less of what was happening in the East could be seen outside. And yet, Poland has occupied a particularly prominent place in the development of analytic philosophy. Alongside the acclaimed Vienna Circle, which bore widely regarded philosophical and logical fruits, there functioned the Lvov-Warsaw school (see also Volume 28). The well-known group of "Polish logicians" constituted but a fraction of the Lvov-Warsaw school, and, moreover, a fraction that could not have taken root had it not been for the analytical work done by the many members of the Lvov-Warsaw school.

When World War II came, many of the members of the Vienna Circle emigrated to the USA, many of the members of the Lvov-Warsaw school dispersed (either by also emigrating or by risking and losing their lives in military operations of various caliber). The Iron Curtain put a final stamp on the already destroyed infrastructure. The climate of intellectual growth through exchange and proliferation of ideas, which was the characteristic of the inter-war era, was gone forever. (Notably, the Lvov-Warsaw school was not hermeneutically analytic. One of the most prolific and original analytic thinkers in the Lvov-Warsaw school, Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz, has been a student of Husserl, see Volume 40.) At that point, the two populations of analytic philosophy that used to live on the exchange of ideas, had been separated by a practically impenetrable barrier.

The results of this separation are rather astounding. That the philosophical life has not died in the West was perhaps to be expected. What is interesting is that it has lived on in Poland and other countries behind the Iron Curtain despite various forms of oppression. Aside from the effects of the Stalinist era and the on-going impact of thriving censorship, there were at least two major incidents of a backlash against the intellectuals. The first occurred in 1968 as a result of an anti-Semitic movement led by the ruling party. The second occurred after the introduction of Martial Law in 1981. Although no intellectual life can survive unscathed when such injuries are inflicted, a lot has happened in Poland and many of the developments had their center in the city of Poznań.

It is particularly interesting that the two sister populations, which sprang from different philosophical bases (for one the dominating influence was the Lvov-Warsaw school, for the other the Vienna Circle) and whose active interchange of ideas was interrupted by the Iron Curtain, have (independently) produced many similar doctrines at approximately similar times (the temporal priority varies depending on topics). To mention but few examples. The theory of humanistic interpretation (e.g., Kmita and Nowak [1968, 1970], Kmita [1971]) shares many similarities with the interpretation theory (e.g. Davidson [1970, 1980, 1984], Dennett [1971, 1981, 1987]). A thorough critique of the positivist philosophy of science with a positive proposal structured around the concept of idealization has been developed by L. Nowak (e.g., [1971], [1980], for an overview see his contribution to Volume 25); similar ideas have been independently put forth by N. Cartwright [1983, 1989], among others. In social philosophy, the two sides of the Iron Curtain managed to produce two versions of analytical Marxism, offering two kinds of adaptational interpretations of Marxism. The early formulation of the adaptational interpretation of Marxism was actually published in Volume 6 of Poznań Studies (see articles by P. Buczkowski, J. Burbelka, A. Klawiter, K. Łastowski and L. Nowak, as well as Nowak [1975], and Volume 13); similar ideas were famously developed by G.A. Cohen [1978]. The focus of the writers on one and the other side of the Iron Curtain varies considerably, which is also why much can be learned from an exchange of ideas.

Just as many of the Western journals finally manage to enter the intellectual market in Eastern Europe (the primary limitation nowadays are no longer political but economic), so Poznań Studies (together with other English-language journals that appear in Eastern Europe) aspires to be offering a forum for the exchange of ideas on topics that have been at the center of discussion in Polish philosophy. Its focus is on giving voice to Polish and other Eastern- European philosophers, and to those Western philosophers whose work relates to our work.

Poznań Studies appears in the form of guest-edited volumes devoted to a discussion of a particular topic. Although the mission of the series is directed toward one goal, it is sufficiently broad to cover a wide variety of topics. Many volumes appear in subseries devoted to a topic of discussion that has been particularly prominent in Polish philosophy. Among them is the subseries on Idealization. Volumes will soon appear in the subseries devoted to the classics of Polish Analytical Philosophy and the subseries on New Trends in Philosophy.

Although the Iron Curtain has fallen as a political barrier, it still stands as an invisible barrier that clouds the sight. Poznań Studies cannot tear down the Invisible Curtain but it aspires to clearing the spectacles.

Katarzyna Paprzycka
editor-in-chief


 

References:

Nancy Cartwright [1983]. How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nancy Cartwright [1989]. Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

G.A. Cohen [1978]. Karl Marx's Theory of History. A Defence. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Donald Davidson [1970]. Mental Events. Reprinted in Davidson [1980].

Donald Davidson [1980]. Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Donald Davidson [1984]. Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Daniel C. Dennett [1971]. Intentional Systems. Journal of Philosophy 68: 87-106. Reprinted in Dennett [1981].

Daniel C. Dennett [1981]. Brainstorms. Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books.Daniel C. Dennett [1987]. The Intentional Stance. Cambridge, MA.: Bradford Books.

Jerzy Kmita [1971]. Z metodologicznych zagadnien interpretacji humanistycznej (Methodological problems of humanistic interpretation). Warszawa: PWN.

Jerzy Kmita & Leszek Nowak [1968]. Studia nad teoretycznymi podstawami humanistyki (Studies on the Theoretical Foundations of the Human Sciences). Poznan.

Jerzy Kmita & Leszek Nowak [1970]. The Rationality Assumption in the Human Sciences. The Polish Sociological Bulletin 1: 43-68.

Leszek Nowak [1971]. U podstaw Marksowskiej metodologii nauk (Foundations of the Marxian Methodology of Science). Warszawa: PWN.

Leszek Nowak [1975]. Theory of Socio-Economic Formations as an Adaptive Theory. Revolutionary World 14: 85-102.

Leszek Nowak [1980]. The Structure of Idealization. Towards a Systematic Interpretation of the Marxian Idea of Science. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Reidel.

Leszek Nowak, ed. [1982]. Social Classes, Action and Historical Materialism. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, vol. 6. Amsterdam: Rodopi.