Letter to Kazimierz Twardowski written 29.03.1923

Toruń, 29/3/1923


Most Honourable Professor!


I haven’t written for quite a long time, as I’m devoting all my free time to finishing my paper, since, when I started to work out the ‘details’, it turned out that various things needed to be re-written, some chapters added, etc. – Thus it turned out that there was much more work than I’d expected two months ago. As of today I’ve overcome most of the difficulties and expect that by the end of April I’ll have finished my work on the questions ‘what is x?’. Probably, then, I’ll bring it with me when I come to the Congress in Lviv. Provided there are no changes, the plan of the paper is as follows:

Chapter I. About the question and its features in general

Chapter II. Distinguishing related questions (‘what is this?’, ‘what is x?’)

Chapter III. Answer to the question ‘what is this?’ and its ontological foundations

Chapter IV. Answer to the question ‘what is x?’

Chapter V. Is there a dependence of the object of cognition on the cognising subject, and, if so, within what limits?

Chapter VI. On the answer to the question ‘what is x?’

Chapter VII. On the question ‘what is x?’ in formal [O1] supposition and on logistic tendencies

Appendix I. Discussion with Prof. Leśniewski [O2] (à propos definition)

Appendix II. Discussion with Prof. Kotarbiński (à propos the existence of ideal objects)

In view of the fact that the work on this dissertation has been so greatly prolonged and that I’ll have to really burn the midnight oil in order to finish it in the coming weeks, the matter of my lecture at the Congress is becoming doubtful. I see two possibilities as of now: either suspend work on the habilitation thesis and work full steam on developing the lecture, or finish the dissertation and give up the lecture. I’d like to hear your opinion, as Chairman of the Congress Committee, in this matter. As far as I know, many – even very many – lectures have been submitted – so perhaps it wouldn’t be a misfortune to have one less. On the other hand, I’m afraid that others won’t show up, and I wouldn’t want the Congress to suffer on account of my personal affairs. You’re perhaps better oriented in this regard, especially since I know nothing about the topics of the lectures, and thus don’t know whether or not my topic plays a role in the Congress as a whole.

I’ll permit myself to note that my habilitation won’t come to fruition during the current school year. When, at the beginning of February, I turned to the Board with the question of whether I could obtain a 4-week leave at the end of the school year, so that I could prepare in the event of a colloquium, I was told that it was out of the question, on account of the matura[O3] . Anyway, the matter of arranging the initial formalities at the University will require a great deal of time. (Not to mention the printing of the paper!) Thus the colloquium, provided that my paper is worth something and no formal difficulties arise, can take place at some point around the end of November at the earliest. In this case, suspending work on my habilitation thesis won’t play a great role. I’d finish it in May and send it to you; then, over the summer, I’d finish the other critical paper on the topic of identity. But since the matter is drawing to an end, I’m starting to think about printing and the associated difficulties. Of course, I’d gladly place my work at the disposal of the Philosophical Society ‘Library’, provided, of course, that the Editorial Committee judges that my papers are on the level of others published by the Society. However, there are financial as well as material considerations. I imagine, however, that the matter could be settled as follows: Wouldn’t it be advisable, at the moment (and in the event) that the Philosophical Society decided to print my papers, for me to turn to the Division of Science of the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education with a request for a grant? Here I’d be happy to contribute from my own funds as well; these, however, are extremely modest. As a result of continued bitterness within the group of teachers, I’ve given up one advisorship (of the two that were given to me at the beginning of the year, per the agreement with the Board), thus reducing my salary. The trip to the Congress will also consume a significant sum; moreover, in the summer, more significant expenses await me, and who knows whether or not I’ll be forced to accept some paying work.

Anyway, all of this is still ‘the music of the future’. At the moment, only the matter of the lecture at the Congress is current. In this regard, I’ll comply fully with your wishes. Since I’ve prepared the material, there’s still time. In any case, I’d ask you to graciously let me know what your opinion is in this matter (meanwhile, at the moment, I’m continuing work on my dissertation). Given the approaching Easter holiday, I’m taking the liberty of sending you and your wife my cordial wishes for a ‘Happy Easter!’ and enclose expressions of profound esteem


Roman Ingarden



I’ve received the announcement about the ‘Congress’ and in the nearest future will send the response card to Dr Gromski[O4] .

[O1]W j. angielskim nie ma wyrażnej róźnicy między „co to jest x?” a „czem jest x?”
[O2]Stanisław Leśniewski (1886‒1939)
[O3]Trzeba dodać notatek
[O4]Oryginałna wersja: do p. Dr Gromskiego ale myślę, że Ingarden miał w myśli Dr Daniela Gromska (która była wtedy asystenką Twardowskiego), a więc to powinna być Dr Gromska