Letter from Anna Teresa Tymieniecka written 03.01.1967

Tymieniecka                        v             1/3/1967

Dearest Professor,
  v   Thank you for the letter and the wishes. Mine, though belated – I have not managed to send out any cards this year, because just before Christmas all of us, one after another, caught a stomach virus which was ravaging our entire area – are equally cordial and sincere.
  v   The problems you raise regarding my book indicate a radical misunderstanding.
    v    Nowhere in this book are any of your views “summarized” in any way. Therefore, there can be no question or doubt regarding faithfulness to Professor’s thought, hence there is nothing to rectify. I mention your name twice in two completely different cases.

A) In the case of (as you quote in your letter) the problem of form and matter, I honestly say in the note that the theory I present it as my own borrows its main concept from R. Ingarden, but I rewrote it in accordance with my views on the matter. So it is not about faithfulness to your concept, but about honesty. Of course, I gave proof by providing its source. Just like your concept of consciousness in the Controversy comes from Husserl but you present it in your own [This is the way philosophy progresses. No one has invented anything fundamental just in their own head. Even Ingarden] The fact that you understand structure differently from me can be verified by my readers, as throughout the text I refer them to my other works, where I did nothing else but summarized your thoughts, several times. This way they can confirm all deviations themselves, seeing as I explicitly disclaim that the theory of matter and form in “Why is there” is only borrowed in conversion and changed.

B) In the case where I reject your approach to my issues (in the introduction) as only providing “separate structures”, it is also about assuming a completely different position from reporting your views. I am not saying that you see your analysis of modes of being in this way. (And I remember your analysis very well in all its details!) I myself have raised the issue of the ontological foundation of relations XXX by entities and movement in the works wherein I reported your views numerous times.
  v   But in your theory, in my interpretation (in a broader perspective and from my starting point) it occurs on the level of constituted reality.
  v   And I put my issues in this book on a much more basic – pre-constitutive – level.
  v   My approach does not correspond with your ontology, but rather your metaphysics. Only that:

  v   1° I provide a different formulation to what you would call metaphysics
  v   2° Your perspective stems from ontology – mine XXX from cosmology.

  v   As a result, your object structures can solve the problems of motion (in the form of causal relations) at this level of the constituted world, but they are completely helpless against what I myself consider the starting point: this basic pre-constitutive dynamic spontaneity.

  v   From this fundamental point of view all structures [like I showed the role of the constitution in my essay in Venice and in KantStudien 1964: ‘Ideas as The constitutive a priori’] have a separative role, a rational-artificial disconnection – of what is inherently inseparable; the introduction of artificial boundaries between elements that seamlessly transform into one other in ways more diverse than the intellect could ever discover.

  v   As a result: what I am saying about you is not to quote your view on your results, or to objectively convey those results – my readers know what other works to compare with – but my opinion on the ultimate value of your results seen not in your perspective, but in that of my tasks and the starting point of my considerations, which is radically different.

  v   I hope that we will agree now. You may not be pleased or you may disagree with my assessment of your theories, or you may want me to relay them in detail – and I am willing to enter into polemics in case you materially object to my assessment. But you can neither accuse me of infidelity in presenting your views, because in this book I do not present any of your views, nor can you accuse me of borrowing your ideas for my own considerations and after introducing my own changes, because such is the practice of philosophizing – you have repeatedly done it yourself with others – and the source was provided with all stipulations necessary for meeting the requirements of scientific honesty.

  v   Of course, you may think that my shifts in your theory do not correspond to the real state of affairs. So we can argue about this.
  v   I am undoubtedly your student in the sense that: a) I learned a lot from you, b) I know your thought as well as my own. But it does not mean:

a) that I identify with it, on the contrary, my own starting point came from thorough criticism of your undertaking as the final solution
b) I think that the issue should be presented completely differently and only then will the wonderful analytical achievements of your work find their application
c) In the light of my starting point not everything in your concrete analyses seems correct. Some day when I have developed my own ideas and “will have time”, I may occupy myself with direct substantive criticism of various points of your philosophy, but for now I am primarily interested in what I see for myself, I want to develop and present it in my own way.

    v   You have not dealt with my subject matter at all, and as for your metaphysics – you have not announced it yet (in any case, I have not heard anything about it).
  v   This is how I can describe it in the simplest and most honest way, because these what I am talking about are matters of basic intellectual honesty and I do not think that I have violated them in any way. I am convinced that you will recognize this.
  v   And I strongly desire it, because the thought of a misunderstanding persisting between us is deeply painful for me. I understand that it might be difficult for you to immerse yourself in my mental world in which your ideas are simply fragments detached from the whole and modified. Although with regards to the philosophical issues themselves, I am, in a sense, continuing with the course you initiated, but I do it on my own tracks. And in this sense too, I am your student (although probably not as much as you were Husserl’s).
  v   You know very well how deeply attached to your thought I am and how much I owe you intellectually – I cannot imagine it possible to understand your thought much deeper than I do – but I deal with something else.
  v   Enough with these arguments Professor has provoked!
  v   As for Guggenheim, I have to explain that what I am applying for is some type of a competition, 150-300 candidates for each fellowship. Candidates come from various fields of science and art, because it is about honoring the most creative individuals for their professional achievements. Any purely technical nuances are out of the question, as the application and recommendations are to demonstrate the outstanding work of an individual in their field. If there is no such prominence, then the candidate is not taken into account at all. Hence I doubt that Professor would actually have the right attitude towards my candidacy, since you feel that you would only have enough material for expressing an opinion after reading my last (4th in a row!) book.
  v   Please, let me know in your reply if you really could recommend me for such a distinctive and honorable fellowship with conviction. If not – which would not “upset” me at all!!! – I will make a request with someone else, because it is a matter of great importance to me and I would hate to lose this opportunity (there is an age limit of 40, too).
  v   Only superlative assessments matter, because only such candidates are considered.
  v   So I really will not blame you if you would like to withdraw – I am just begging you to let me know immediately if that is the case. Simply giving me a good grade would only be a bad favor. Of course, you never know what the reviewers will truly write. I am certain of an appropriate recommendation only from 2 of them. What the third (Wahl) will write I cannot be sure; (although I got a letter from him yesterday with great praise of my Leibniz he discusses quite concretely, raising the points he likes and criticizing only minor elements.)
  v   I will be ending here, I apologize for such a long epistle and believing that we have reached an understanding with regards to the essentials. I will enter into polemics with you with pleasure if you feel like to opposing my views on your ontology. The warm and cordial regards from all of us and true reverence for the both of you as well as best wishes for 1964.

Honestly devoted