Open Letter to the editors of „Nauka” concerning „The Year of August Cieszkowski”

Andrzej Walicki


In March 2014, on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the death of August Cieszkowski (1814-1894), the metropolitan of Poznań, abp Stanisław Gądecki, inaugurated “the year of August Cieszkowski” – series of scholarly events intended to substantially increase our knowledge of this undeservedly forgotten Polish thinker. This initiative was praised in “Nauka” (2014, No 3) by professor Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz, corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. However, prof. Kundzewicz did not mention the fact that in the People’s Poland, owing to the efforts of the respective secular authorities (mostly Polish Academy of Sciences). Cieszkowski’s legacy was carefully studied, his philosophical works were published, and he was treated as a philosopher of all-European importance, as well as a great religious thinker, thoroughly committed to the cause of progressive reforms in the Catholic Church in the spirit
of ecumenism and freedom. Hence it is not clear why “the year of Cieszkowski” should be organized as a local event, inaugurated by the metropolitan of Poznań, and not as an all-national event, involving scholars from all relevant institutions under the auspices of the Polish Academy
of Sciences. Ironically, until now the most important contribution to the memory of Cieszkowski is the reappearance of the critical edition of his early philosophical works (including the famous Prolegomena zur Historiospophie), published in 1973 in the prestigious series Library of the Classics of Philosophy. My long introduction to this book, written in 1971, required no changes. But the new edition of the book had nothing to do with “the year of Cieszkowski” for a simple reason: I learned about this ecclesiastical initiative only from prof. Kundzewicz’s article in “Nauka”.


August Cieszkowski; posthegelian philosophy; Polish “national philosophers” of the 1840s

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