Humanities and Social Sciences

Przegląd Filozoficzny. Nowa Seria

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Przegląd Filozoficzny. Nowa Seria | 2018 | No 3 |

Abstract

This work is complementary with Bogusław Wolniewicz’s text Elzenberg about Milosz. The circumstances surrounding the discovery of Czesław Milosz’s article Duty and Henryk Elzenberg’s polemic are portrayed here. Moreover, in the second part we have attempted to evaluate Joseph Conrad’s novel The Rover.

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Abstract

Bogusław Wolniewicz created an original formal system based on his considerations on the ontology and semantics embedded in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. His system – called by Wolniewicz ‘ontology of situations’ – can be complemented by a philosophical interpretation. In this article I identify the implicit and intuitive underpinnings of the system, its formal content and its philosophical implications. I also indicate a few applications of the system to axiology and logical hermeneutics.

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Abstract

Selected scientific contacts of Jacek Hawranek and Jan Zygmunt with Professor Bogusław Wolniewicz in the period from the end of the 1980s to the beginning of the 21st century are presented in this essay. They concerned the algebraic aspects of the ontology of situations and from one moment – one only question that was posed by Wolniewicz in his note A question about join-semilattices (Bulletin of the Section of Logic, 19/3, 1990, pp. 108–108), and resulted in the Hawranek & Zygmunt paper Wokół pewnego zagadnienia z dziedziny półkrat górnych z jednością (“Some comments on a question about semilattices with unit”) (Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis 1445, Logika 15 (1993), pp. 59–68) containing an answer to Wolniewicz’s question. The Hawranek & Zygmunt paper is reprinted below, and the essay might be also treated as a kind of an analytical and historical introduction to it. The story of contacts Wolniewicz – Hawranek & Zygmunt has been told with the help of the preserved correspondence between the three persons. In his letters Professor Wolniewicz appears as a passionate researcher, open to discussion, ready to share his research successes and difficulties with others.

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Abstract

Bogusław Wolniewicz, inspired by his formal ontology of situations, has put forward a question on semilattices with a unit (A question about joinsemilattices, Bulletin of the Section of Logic 19/3, 1990). The present paper is entirely devoted to this problem in the formulation given by Wolniewicz. First, the meaning of the question is analyzed and its lattice-theoretical and Boolean algebraic contents are exhibited. Second, set-theoretical and topological counterparts of the question are formulated and commented upon.

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Abstract

Formalization of a set of beliefs expressed in one language consists in translating them into sentences of another language. The characteristic property of a good formalization is that the target language is correctly chosen and the translations precisely reflect the meaning of the original sentences. In the paper a formalization of ontology of situations (given by Professor Bogusław Wolniewicz) is discussed. I argue that this is an example of a perfect solution of the problem.

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Abstract

The early philosophical standpoint of Professor Bogusław Wolniewicz alluded mainly to the so-called first philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, as expressed in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Professor Wolniewicz’s views have found their expressions, first, in the book (in Polish) Things and Facts. An introduction to the first philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1968), and finally in his monograph (in Polish) Ontology of Situations. Foundations and Applications (1985). In both cases, Wolniewicz’ standpoint has been expressed by giving a substantive interpretation to semiotical and logical concepts (i.e. by producing hypostases). This practice looks rather dubious to me, in both cases, although I hope that ontology of situations can be usefully treated as a general formal theory of semantical correlates characteristic for sentential statements.

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Abstract

Positivism is a family of philosophical views characterized by a highly favorable account of science. The characteristic theses of positivism are that science is the only valid knowledge and that philosophy does not possess a method different from science (scientism). Positivists attempted to eliminate all metaphysical components in the area of philosophy. Wolniewicz was one of the most original Polish analytical philosophers of second part of 20th century and he was a strong opponent of anti-metaphysical tendencies. The author discusses the problem of the relationship between science and philosophy and presents Wolniewicz’s arguments against positivism and scientism.

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Abstract

The author presents the method of philosophizing practiced by Bogusław Wolniewicz. He subsequently discusses the sources of his philosophizing, the objectives he has set for himself, his rationalism as well as his method of making philosophy scientifically sound. The author also mentions Wolniewicz’s use of history of philosophy and substantive philosophy, his method of working with students in classes, and finally his work on texts. In many places, the author expands this presentation by adding elements of his own meta-philosophy.

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Abstract

The works of Bogusław Wolniewicz contain a philosophical system. It needs to be extracted and revealed through a recomposition of his output which comprises close to 600 individual publications and auditions. It is a system of Pythagorean-Manichean kind, or, to put it differently, Leibnizian-Augustinian kind. The Professor described his philosophy as a rational ‘tychism’. It claims that the world and man are governed by chance (especially human nature in which an element of evil has some influence) and that mind, even though it uses logic to reflect the world, is barely an irrelevant addition in the vast universe. Such a stance is unusual in modern thought, though not in the history of thinking. It is in clear opposition to the scientifically bended rationalism and irrationalism that dominate contemporary thought. The logical coherency and extensiveness of Wolniewicz’s concerns constitute the essence of his philosophical system, though it goes largely unnoticed, due to the meaninglessness of several of his claims to his opponents. At its foundation lies the metaphysics of situations developed by L. Wittgenstein but further elaborated by Wolniewicz. The contribution by Wolniewicz is not his greatest accomplishment, however. The metaphysics of situations is his organon – merely a thinking tool – used to extract the most crucial and deeply hidden truths about the world. Due to these circumstances and the modern achievements in logic when it is practiced in Wolniewicz’s style, new discoveries are made that were not possible in the past. For example, it is possible to incorporate both Christian axiology and anthropology with Marx’s sociology in one system. It evocates widespread amazement but also fierce resistance from conservative readers, but their protests are ungrounded. ‘Truth always agrees with truth’ – said Wolniewicz. When it comes to Wolniewicz’s system, its coherence counts most, and it is best manifested in the objectivistic and absolutistic philosophy of values as well as pessimistic philosophy of the human condition (both being of Christian provenance). One can depict Wolniewicz’s system as a cathedral with numerous towers, persistently built over 70 years of his active academic life. The main towers are: ontological-theological, anthropological and axiological (of practical philosophy, describing human duties). Standing shoulder to shoulder with them are smaller turrets corresponding to such subfields as epistemology, philosophy of culture, philosophy of religion, esthetics etc. The metaphysical aspect of Wolniewicz’s philosophy is blended from specific classic theorems and original claims expressed in synthetic a priori propositions. They are supported by the logical structure of language, and language itself is supported by the structure of human genotype (DNA). Technically one can reach the most general truths about the world by continuous thinking, but the ability to use that skill is a privilege reserved for exceptional geniuses.

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Abstract

The paper discusses political philosophy of Bogusław Wolniewicz. The leading idea of his general philosophy was rationalism of a specific type that he called ‘tychistic’ (meaning ‘based on fate’), or ‘transcendental’ (meaning ‘transgressing the limits of nature by reliance on human reason’). This self-description presents Wolniewicz as an author respecting his Christian background, though personally he did not espouse the complete body of precepts postulated by the Church. As a nonconfessional catholic he spoke in favor of Christian civilization which he identified with Western culture. This led him to the reject of liberalism, libertarianism and leftist ideologies. He wanted to be perceived as a democrat who supported civil and republican democracy based on the virtue of patriotism. He emphasized the essentiality of the possession of its own political state by each independent nation, and the most important circle of loyalty was for him a national community. Thus he undertook to defend a conception of cautious xenophobia that was expurgated of hate but dedicated to the defense of a national territory.

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Abstract

The text is devoted to the reconstruction of Wolniewicz’s philosophical views presented by him in the first volume of his Philosophy and Values. The philosophical tradition to which Wolniewicz admitted allegiance and the results of his analyzes in the field of methodology, philosophy of religion, anthropology and philosophy of politics are discussed. Some methodological problems are raised, such as theoretical criteria (including the semantic criterion) of theoreticity, philosophy as theory, philosophical styles, parapsychology as a pseudo-theory, mystified observation and the rule of rationality. Within philosophy of religion the author analyses Wolniewicz’s thesis that the foundation of religion resides in the fear of death. From anthropological problems, Wolniewicz’s views on relations of anthropology to axiology are presented, as well as the relationship between meliorism and pejorism (with particular emphasis on the so-called epiphany of the devil), abortion and murder, transplantations and ‘(neo)cannibalism.’ Within philosophy of politics the author undertakes to carefully reconstruct Wolniewicz’s attempts to distinguish between such oppositions as democracy and democratism, evolution and revolution, fanaticism and tolerance. Finally the author argues that Wolniewicz was one of the most outstanding contemporary Polish philosophers even though he points to some gaps in his arguments.

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Abstract

The paper discusses selected topics in moral philosophy of Professor Bogusław Wolniewicz. His overall approach is marked by intellectual independence and analytic treatment of moral issues. The theory of values that he has endorsed can be described as a moderate non-religious absolutism based on weak metaphysical principles. Although in general his normative position can be assimilated to the views of an enlightened liberal, it also clashes with that position insofar as he proclaimed the existence of ontological evil and supported legitimacy of death penalty.

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Abstract

Bogusław Wolniewicz presented his axiological system in four volumes of Filozofia i wartości (“Philosophy and Values”: 1993, 1998, 2003, 2016). For Wolniewicz, just as for his mentor Henryk Elzenberg, axiology is openly assertive and encompasses a painful confrontation of opposite moral beliefs. Wolniewicz’s vision of the reality is gloom, bitter, dramatic and deeply pessimistic. In history he detects unwelcome contributions of demonic powers (Manichaeism), he also believes that human moral character is genetically given and immutable (determinism), that some people are deprived of conscience (dualism), and that the tendency toward evil cannot be reformed (non-meliorism), human reason is not sufficient for a morally good action (voluntarism), while the so-called free will is no more than a manifestation of instincts (irrationalism). Everyone follows their pleasure (hedonism), but not everyone seeks pleasure in the same actions. In particular, some people take pleasure in cruel and destructive behaviour (demonism), while some others mind their own business (utilitarianism), and rare are those who devote themselves to higher values (perfectionism). Religion is a human invention and it emerges as a natural phenomenon in reaction to the fact of mortality. The institution of the Church should nevertheless be honored even by nonbelievers because it supports conservative values. In contemporary Western civilization a crisis can be observed between the conservative part of society (‘right-handed orientation’) and the liberal one (‘left-handed orientation’). Hateful emotions appear on both sides and are dangerous to Western unity. Conservative orientation is attached to the idea of fate, i.e. irrational power that occasionally turns human life into tragedy (fatalism). Wolniewicz’s vision is close to the theology of St. Augustine (original sin, predestination, radical dualism of good and evil) but without a consolation in hope for immortality.

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Abstract

This article consists of two parts. The first part summarizes using informal language Wolniewicz’s understanding of the idea of God which he expressed in the language of formal logic. It demonstrates that Wolniewicz’s position was founded on antinaturalism, i.e. the conviction that nature is a fragment of a larger reality while man partly transcends the natural reality. The second part of the article is an attempt at capturing the intuitions behind Wolniewicz’s idea of God as an impersonal power which is not identical with Providence though. It is argued that this view is a consequence of the characteristic traits of Wolniewicz’s personality. This explanation is consistent with Wolniewicz’s understanding of human nature. In the analysis that ensues reference is made to Wolniewicz’s private correspondence.

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Abstract

In the present article, the author attempts to solve the paradox hidden in the declaration pronounced by Bogusław Wolniewicz who referred to himself as a ‘Non-Confessional Roman Catholic.’ First, the author analyses (1) the way Wolniewicz understood the sources of religion, and then, (2) how he defined the minimum of Christianity. (3) The author investigates whether it is possible to reconcile his acceptance of euthanasia with the teaching of the Church, and finally, (4) the author focuses on his evangelical aesthetics. By way of conclusion the study traces on similarities between the tychistic rationalism and Christianity.

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Abstract

The normative system of Bogusław Wolniewicz (1927–2017) can be subsumed under three categories: (1) pessimism (fatalism, or ‘tychism’ in Wolniewicz’s terms), (2) moral determinism (‘non-meliorism’), (3) conservatism (‘right-hand orientation’). Ad (1) Wolniewicz was pessimistic in two ways: he believed human life to be tragic (fatalism) and was also convinced that most people are guided by bad instincts (dualism). Ad (2) Wolniewicz believed that moral character was biologically determined and immutable. But his strong position on this subject ignores the classical view of Aristotle or the Stoics for whom moral character (or conscience) was acquired by habit and shaped deliberately. Ad (3) I suggest that a good historical example of conservative tendency was Critias of Athens. His famous fragment of the Sisyphus contains the idea of a supremacy of laws over human passions, and reduces religion to a supportive role with respect to ethics and politics. Wolniewicz’s dualism of right-hand and left-hand orientation encourages me to distinguish between a right-wing and a left-wing perception of value. For a leftist, value is intensity of a chosen feature (progressive value), whereas for a rightist, value is an area of freedom between inacceptable extremities (modular value). On these premises I propose a simple model of axiological conflict between left-wing and right-wing citizens.

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