Letter to Władysław Tatarkiewicz written 05.01.1960
Berkeley 4 California
Berkeley, 5 January 1960
Today your letter of 18 December was delivered to me. I was very happy, especially since letters from Poland travel very slowly and I haven’t received many of them, and I’m starved for news from there. Thank you very much for the news you gave me, especially since both items are auspicious: that your history of aesthetics will appear, I believe soon, and that the volume of the Aesthetics Yearbook is already almost ready. Nota bene: today, while browsing the catalogue for works about aesthetics in the local library of the University of California, I found two Polish papers (in Polish): your ‘Marzenie i skupienie’ [sic; actual title ‘Skupienie i marzenie’, or ‘Concentration and Dream’] and another paper I didn’t even know about. Yesterday I checked to see if Studia Philosophica was here. Well, the first two volumes are (including, obviously, your paper ‘Art and Poetry’), but no post-war volumes. Perhaps you’d be so gracious as to find out at the P. Philosophical Soc. whether they could send these two volumes. The same for the library of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. This would be very advisable. Here, moreover, they have a great number of Philosophical Reviews, with a gap, around the time of the war, of several years. This can no longer be corrected. They also have Philosophical Quarterly up to the end, and one issue of Philosophical Movement, but I don’t remember which one. I believe that our journals, at least, ought to be here. Anyway, I didn’t look in the catalogue under your name; there are probably more things here; I’ll let you know.
As to Ms Suchorzewska’s habilitation, I won’t stand in her way if the dean has decided to raise this issue. I didn’t want to do that; I believed that someone at such a late age and whose scientific achievements were well known should no longer be a candidate for habilitation; certainly she’s older than 70 by quite a few years. But since the dean believes that the law doesn’t prevent it, let the thing go ahead. Of course, I believe the whole thing to be of a charitable nature; I’m guessing, however, that the Ministry won’t approve it. Have the rules for implementing the law appeared yet? They hadn’t as of the time of my departure. I don’t think, however, that the Jagiellonian University should compromise itself, and I’m conditioning my decision on the quality of the work. I did some reviewing of various things by Ms S. and had very mixed feelings. She wrote in recent years about Kant’s transcendental deduction of the categories ‒ did she submit this paper[O1] . In any case, by the time I get there, the matter will be cleared up.
We’re supposed to board the ship 18 February; however, I still have a great desire to stay in Paris, provided there’s enough money; it’s possible I’ll have a lecture there at the Aesthetics Society, but that hasn’t been decided yet. Souriau [O2] once invited me, but as of now I haven’t had a reply, and that will determine whether they give me an entry visa.
Here I’ve already had 10 lectures, and probably several still await me ‒ two, for certain, in Princeton and New York; however, today I was told that maybe I would have to speak here too, even though by now I’d prefer not to. I’ve had very pleasant meetings and discussions in various cities; I’ll tell you when I get there; it’ll also be necessary to say something about American aesthetics, which is something not many of us know about.
We’ll stay here until some point in January, then New York, where we’ve spent two days so far, with jumps to New Haven, Princeton, and maybe New London.
We’re still having wonderful weather; at the moment, it’s like May here; from the window of our hotel room you can see the bay, which, especially at sunset, looks splendid. The most beautiful place, however, was Santa Barbara, where I spent three days at the congress of the western branch of the local Phil. Soc.
Today I’m supposed to meet Tarski, whom I haven’t seen for twenty years. He has a great position here, but I also have the impression that in general in the States the role of neopositivism is coming to an end or has already ended. Even at Harvard, where positivism is flourishing, it’s already being called the Oxford or late-Wittgenstein school.
I’ll end here and I thank you once again for the letter, as well as sending cordial greetings and regards from both of us for you and your wife.
/signature/ Your Roman
I was very worried about the fact that the two of you have already moved completely to Warsaw.
I imagine, however, that these constant trips must have been tiring.
Address: c/o Institute of International Education,
1 East 67 Street, New York 21 NY.
[O1]Oryg. nie jasna – brak znaku zapytanie na końcu
[O2]W oryginalnej wersji: Sourriau (niepoprawna ortografia)