KOLAKOWSKI'S DISCOURSE ON MAN (Kolakowskiego dyskurs o czlowieku)
The main thesis of this article is that thinking about man is rooted in the conception of human nature. From the perspective of the history of ideas, it is clear not only that the nature of man is intertwined with history but that the reaction of the 'essentialist' conception of man was and continues to be stronger than history. The best evidence of this is the discourse on man present in the legacy of Leszek Kolakowski. Kolakowski's faith in Reason and in Man already manifested itself in his 'Individual and Infinity: Freedom and Antinomies of Freedom in the Philosophy of Spinoza', published in 1958. There he sided with the 'figure of lone emancipation' - meaning the individual autonomy granted in Reason. Despite various intellectual tempests, he would remain faithful to that figure. The allure and magnetism of the works of Leszek Kolakowski lie, above all, in the fact that they not only constitute solid and interesting treatises in the field of the history of ideas, but that they are also motivating and inspiring commentaries on contemporary times. It is precisely in the context of those 'figures of lone emancipation' that the concept of the absolute (as is the case with several other philosophical categories) is tantamount to a concept burdened by internal contradiction. As such, it cannot comprise the foundation for anything indubitable; the paradox of relativists and advocates of the absolute stems from the belief that relativists are right for absolutist reasons'.
- Mariola Flis, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Instytut Socjologii, ul.Grodzka 52, 31-044 Kraków, Poland
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