Letter to Tadeusz Czeżowski written 19.10.1954

Cracow, 19/10/1954

Roman Ingarden
Cracow, 2. Biskupia 14. apt. 15
(please use this address)


            Dear Tadeusz,

                        Your letter arrived during my absence from Cracow. Having returned, I’m writing back, first of all to thank you very much for the letter and for the text of the survey of logical errors. We can also talk about this survey when you come to Cracow.

            I’m glad that your trip here is going to come off. Of course, as always, we invite you to stay with us, apologising at the same time for the fact that it’s so uncomfortable at our place now.

            As for the date of the Polish Academy of Sciences conference on the history of logic, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know soon. Iza told me when I last saw her that she’s going to Denmark 6 November. If you’d like to see her, it might be logical to organise the conference around this time, e.g. immediately before. Given this occasion, wouldn’t you like to say something at the Philosophical Society? Maybe e.g. on 4/11? I’d ask you for a notification along with the topic. I expect that the Polish Academy of Sciences will cover your travel expenses and that the Society will benefit.

            I’m eagerly reading through the approved plan of logical work approved by the Polish Academy of Sciences Philosophical Committee. When I was in Warsaw at the logic conference, one topic was announced for a paper which evidently refers to information I’d shared with one of the Warsaw logicians a year ago about my paper on the theory of causality. I’d like to talk with you in particular about a method of protecting my rights as an author.

            The deliberations in which I took part at that time were, in my opinion, not very encouraging. I think it would be necessary to prepare specific issues in particular sections if the research plan is to be organically built; it should not be a patchwork of submitted private topics, a plan in name only ‒ or so I express it – an official plan. Personally, I was interested in several sections, but the deliberations took place concurrently, and therefore it was not possible to take part in various sections. In any case, there were no discussions, either where I was or at plenary meetings. Among other things, I was interested in the cooperation of logicians with linguists, but this issue had not been prepared at all. If this cooperation is to be realised, it must be prepared so that both sides will benefit. Meanwhile, I have the impression that logicians want only to teach linguists, with no intention of learning from them. What logic, and particularly Polish logistics, has accomplished in the past 40 years is, for linguists, completely useless. Accordingly, I think that it would be useless to e.g. invite to the planned conference of logicians and linguists certain linguists who are supposed to teach other linguists about logistics. Logicians would have to deal with quite different issues than those they have dealt with over the past 40 years, and elaborate them in a completely different way, in order to interest linguists, and at the same time stimulate them to report such results of theirs as may be useful for logicians.

            Personally, I’ve been trying, since 1927, i.e. since writing Das literarische Kunstwerk, to make contact with linguists, and I have learned a great deal from linguists since then. Nor did they decline to co-operate with me (I’m the only Polish philosopher who was a member of the Polish Academy of Learning’s Linguistic Commission, and who is a member of the P. Soc. of Linguistics). I have the impression that what I managed to do in Das literarische Kunstwerk and afterwards was not without significance to linguists. I get this impression from e.g. the fact that the most eminent group of European linguists, i.e. occupational phonologists, made contact with me as early as in 1934 in Prague. Also, the Polish linguists Kuryłowicz, Klemensiewicz, Zawadowski, Milewski, and Jodłowski referred many times in their papers to Das literarische Kunstwerk, and I can point to a series of papers whose themes, and many statements as well, are taken therefrom; however, now they prefer not to admit that, since such a stance is, for various reasons, convenient today.

            The experiences that I have accumulated in these contacts for almost 30 years have enabled me to clearly perceive what the co-operation of these two branches of learning might depend on. Therefore, I suggested in Warsaw that I could prepare a paper (for this planned conference of logicians and linguists) on the subject of what this co-operation might depend on. But Ms K. first reacted to the subject with laughter, and then told me privately, quite harshly, that everything is decided, papers distributed, etc., through the Polish Academy of Sciences. Of course, I have no intention of imposing myself. As a consequence, I also withdrew my offer to send a certain part of my work to Acta Linguistica and the Bulletin of P. Soc. Linguistics. This last thought was seized upon, and ‘team’ work on this topic was planned. Let that be; at least in this way something useful will come from my intervention.

            In the field of relations between logic and ontology as well, I think I could point out a number of issues that ought to be elaborated. But you told me yourself that the only issue was that reism was to be the basis for logic. I think that this is the most inappropriate idea possible, but I leave it as well to the course of events.

            In closing, I send you my best regards and ask you for news regarding the date of your potential lecture and arrival.