Letter to the Committee of the Library of Classics of Philosophy written n/d

Category n.d.
Reference code in archive K_III-26_D_34
Copyrights all rights reserved
Resource type letter
Field philosophy
Tags #Adam Bar, #Adam Burski, #Adam Ignacy Zabellewicz, #Adam Mickiewicz, #Aleksander Ludwik Birkenmajer, #Aleksander Świętochowski, #Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, #Antoni Wiśniewski, #Bacon's method of explaining nature, #Bibliography of Polish Philosophy, #BKF, #Bogusław Leśnodorski, #Dialectica Ciceronis, #Dominik Szulc, #Edward Dembowski, #Feliks Jaroński, #Friendly advice to a young worshipper of science and philosophy, #hegelians, #Helena Hleb-Koszańska, #Helena Więckowska, #Henryk Michał Kamieński, #Hugo Kołłątaj, #Jan Jonston, #Jan Kott, #Jan Majorkiewicz, #Jędrzej Śniadecki, #Joachim Lelewel, #Józef Emanuel Jankowski, #Józef Florian Sołtykowicz, #Józef Franciszek Łęski, #Józef Kalasanty Szaniawski, #Józef Supiński, #Julian Ochorowicz, #Juliusz Kleiner, #Kórnik Library, #Krakow scholastics, #Krakow Scientific Society, #Library of Classics of Philosophy, #Ludwik Kasiński, #Marcin Śmiglecki, #messianics, #Michał Wiszniewski, #Mikołaj Kopernik, #National Library, #Naturae Constantia, #On philosophy, #On the Source of Contemporary Knowledge, #On the uncertainty of views and teachings based on experience, #Polish philosophical works, #Polish thinkers, #Polymathia Philologica, #positivists, #Sebastian Petrycy, #Stanisław Leszczyński, #Stanisław Pigoń, #Stanisław Staszic, #Stefan Harassek, #Tadeusz Bilikiewicz, #Tadeusz Sinko, #The Moral and Physical Order, #The Philosophy of Human Mind, #The philosophy of material economy of human society, #Tomasz Młodzianowski, #Translations of Aristotle's practical writings, #Verneius #Aloysius Antonius, #Warsaw Society of Friends of Science, #What philosophy do Poles need?, #Wiktor Wąsik, #Witelon, #Władysław Tatarkiewicz, #Zygmunt Kukulski



   c          Making a list of old Polish philosophical works that would deserve to be published in present times and to be included into the Library of the Classics of Philosophy is difficult, because: 1. the thinkers with the most widespread recognition, many would rather be considered scientists /Vitello, Copernicus, Jędrzej Sniadecki/, historians /Lelewel/, political writers /Modrzewski, Staszic, Kołłątaj/, they were only dealing with philosophy on the side, and specialists from their main fields have already published their works; 2. the works of Polish philosophy which once enjoyed worldwide fame /the works of the Krakow scholastics of the 15th century, Śmiglecki or Młodzianowski in the 17th century/ do not raise much interest today and contain relatively few original thoughts on their hundreds of pages; 3. works that were even considered to be the pinnacle of national philosophy /such as the messianic writings/ also do not meet the needs of today, they are interesting in some parts rather than in full, and at least some of them have been republished relatively recently.

   c          These difficulties can be resolved by not only publishing the entire works, but also more important fragments thereof, in such a way that fragments of various writings of one author and even different authors relating to similar topics will be compiled in a single volume.

   c          The following volumes of “classics” should be given priority in being included in the publishing list:

   c          1. Vitello, Philosophical writings / These have not yet been printed, for the most part, at least in full. From the huge ” Perspectiva” at most some short fragments could be reprinted in a philosophical publication /.
   c          2. Selection of works by Krakow philosophers of the 15th century / Research of recent decades has shown considerable independence and progressiveness of the contemporary philosophers of the Jagiellonian University. They cannot be omitted in this publication, however, it does not seem necessary for their works, so far only available in manuscripts, to be published in full.
   c          3. Petrycy of Pilzno, Translations of Aristotle’s practical writings, 1601/18 / They are important as the first and highly successful attempts at creating Polish philosophical language, and they will simultaneously serve as an introduction to Aristotle /.

   c          4. A.Burski, Dialectica Ciceronis, 1604 / This original research work should be translated, but probably with some cuts to the extensive quotes from Greek and Latin authors /.
   c          5. J. Jonston, Naturae Constantia, 1632 / A brief, nicely written booklet, versatile in its selection of material, which provides a picture of contemporary progressive academia; it could be supplemented with fragments from other works by this author partly relating to philosophy, Polymathia Philologica, 1667/.

Selection of philosophical writings of the early Enlightenment /S. Leszczyński, Konarski, Wiśniewski, Verneius et al./
   c          7. S. Staszic, Selection of philosophical writings /”Human lineage” is not suitable for re-release, even if only for reasons of size and being written in verse form. None of his other writings are of a philosophical nature, they only have philosophical parts and some philosophical motives/.

   c          8. H. Kołłątaj, The Moral and Physical Order, 1810 /The supplement should include the manuscript PAAS 223 “Ideas …”/.
   c          9. Jędrzej Śniadecki, On the uncertainty of views and teachings based on experience, 1799. / The volume could also include philosophical fragments from his other writings, although they are very few.
   c          10. Jan Sniadecki and his opponents in a dispute on Kant, 1819-44 / “The Philosophy of Human Mind” could be published later /.
   c          11. J.K. Szaniawski, Friendly advice to a young worshipper of science and philosophy, 1805, 2nd ed., 1823.
   c          12. A collection of philosophical writings from the Warsaw Society of Friends of Science and the Krakow Scientific Society, 1800-30. /Szaniawski, Zabellewicz, Łęski, Sołtykowicz, Jankowski et al./
   c          13. F. Jaroński, What philosophy do Poles need? 1810./Fragments of his 3-volume work “On philosophy”, which is not fully reprintable, could be added to this short dissertation/.
   c          14. M.Wiszniewski, Bacon’s method of explaining nature, 1834 /Also other printed writings of this thinker deserve to be republished. Several dozen years ago, Korbut provided information on Wiszniewski’s philosophical manuscripts – if they were not destroyed by war, they should be examined and probably published/.
   c          15. E.Dembowski, Philosopical writings / These writings, mainly from the years 1843/4, have not yet been compiled and published in a single volume /.
   c          16. H.Kamieński, The philosophy of material economy of human society, 1843.
   c          17. J. Majorkiewicz, Selection of philosophical writings, 1843-52.
   c          18. Selection of Hegelian writings /with the exception of those intended for separate publication – representative of the Hegelian left /.
   c          19. A. Mickiewicz, Philosophical writings.
   c          20. Selection of messianic writings /The issue of nature, size and arrangement of this selection has to be discussed in detail/.
   c          21. D. Szulc, On the Source of Contemporary Knowledge, 1851.
   c          22. Selection of positivist writings /Supiński, Ochorowicz, Swiętochowski et al./

   c          This program can and should be extended. It would be desirable for the published works to include Copernicus’s writings of philosophical significance, however, they have already been published by the National Library Publishing /in the L.A. Birkenmajer’s selection/ and a new edition is currently being planned there. It would also be appropriate to include the writings of Frycz Modrzewski, but their publication has been undertaken by the Kórnik Library. Lelewel’s philosophical writings would be another necessary inclusion. Nevertheless, the listed items constitute a fairly extensive program.

   c          Implementing this program should not present too many difficulties, as there is no lack of experts on the subject. Publishing Vitello’s writings has been assigned to Director A. Birkenmajer, who discovered his forgotten The publication of Petryce and Burski – has been assigned to prof. Wąsik, but the release of Burski calls for cooperation with a classical philologist. /Maybe it would be possible to recruit Professor T. Sinka for this task/. Prof. T. Bilikiewicz worked on Jonston, Prof. B. Lesnodorski – on the philosophy of Enlightenment, W. Tatarkiewicz – on the philosophy of Enlightenment and the beginning of the 19th century, prof. Kukulski on Staszic, prof. S. Harassek on Śniadecki and some messianists, Prof. J. Kleiner and St. Pigoń also on messianists, Prof. H.Więckowska and Hleb Koszańska, PhD, on Lelewel, prof. J. Kott and L. Kasinski, PhD, on positivists.

   c          There is one other item closely related to this program that should be added to it. Namely, the great Bibliography of Polish Philosophy which has been prepared by Adam Bar, PhD. Its publication is not simple, because it is a huge volume, containing over 100 author’s sheets of print, but it would be significantly beneficial to do so.

/-/ W.Tatarkiewicz




   c          The instruction assumes that the Library of Classics of Philosophy is primarily intended for those working in the field of philosophy or preparing for such work, and is not a popular literature publishing house, so it shall not be burdened with information needed only for popularization purposes. Its activity shall not, however – as was in the case of “Translations of the Classics of Philosophy” by P.A.L. – be only limited to translations. It shall also entail a historical introduction, a subject index, a glossary of terms, explanations and a thorough list of contents.

   c          1. Each volume of the publication shall contain A HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION. However, this introduction will only include facts about the translated work; when it was written, by whom, under what conditions, for what purpose, etc. It will not cover the author’s full biography, but only the data needed to understand a given work. The same amount of space will be dedicated to information on other works of the author. The exception would be less widely known authors, where the introduction and biography of the author would have to be more extensive and replace the non-existent or difficult to obtain subject literature. The introduction shall also explain what edition or manuscript the translation was based on. It shall also highlight particular difficulties encountered in the course of translation.

   c          2. Each volume should contain a SUBJECT INDEX. Alternatively, also a NAME INDEX.

   c          3. Each volume should contain a GLOSSARY OF TERMS explaining which original terms correspond with which translated terms. This glossary can be included in the subject index.

   c          4. Each volume shall contain EXPLANATIONS. However, only those that would be needed by more advanced readers, who are the publishing house’s primary target audience. These explanations can be split into to two categories, based on their purpose, which can be: 1. to mark places of the text that can be understood in various ways / not uncommon in ancient texts /, 2. to explain outdated expressions, names and facts mentioned in the text, but forgotten today and meaningless to most readers. However, it has been deemed unnecessary to 1. explain philosophical and other expressions that remain in use, 2. comment on the text / unless there is a clear divergence between commentators / and 3. highlight the views of the text the translator does not agree with, which are irrelevant, incorrect, outdated, debunked by further development of thought. The reason such explanations and critical remarks shall be omitted is because their character does not correspond with the character of the Library, they would unnecessarily increase its size, lead to repetition, bring the translator and commentator to the forefront, while the person standing in it should be the author of the translated work.

   c          5. Each volume shall contain a table of CONTENTS and a detailed list of what they entail, more detailed than what most classics have been hitherto providing. This fragmented list of contents may be given before or after the text as well as on the margins of the translation as headings for respective paragraphs. It must be carried out uniformly in all published volumes.

   c          6. This instruction also applies to re-editions of Polish philosophical works, with the exception of dictionaries. Volumes devoted to Polish philosophy shall constitute a separate SERIES. The second series, i.e. the series of translations, would consist of all other volumes.

   c          7. The appropriate LIBRARY format shall be an octavo / 24×16 cm. “Translations of P.A.L. Classics” were recently published in this format, however the print was too dense, hence interlining would be desirable.

   c          8. The Editorial Board of the Library will issue instructions for translators on how to deal with questionable language matters, such as how to write foreign names and what language to give foreign names in.


/ – / W. Tatarkiewicz