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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 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 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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