Letter to Władysław Tatarkiewicz written 22.01.1967

[handwritten addition] Tatarkiewicz

Roman Ingarden
Rabka, Słoneczna 15

Rabka, 22 January 1967


                        Dear Władysław,

            I’ve been in Rabka for a couple of hours in order to breathe the somewhat better air here. I’ll be staying here for about two weeks.

            I’ve just now read your review of Krystyna Wójcik’s paper. I thank you for the trouble you took with it, but at the same time I have to underline that I don’t agree with your opinion, especially as regards the second part of the paper, which you disposed of with an authoritarian verdict without a word as to what it was about. It’s decidedly better than the first part, which, I suggested to the author, should be deleted, but she insisted that it’s necessary, mainly, it seems, because in it she indicates that even extreme subjectivists and psychologists cannot resist the pressure of facts and have to state certain objectivist-sounding theses. This part is, in any case, only preparatory and certainly should not be subjected to an exhaustive review and  consideration of the entire range of psychological or subjectivist literature, as you demand. It was only a question of sketching a type of argumentation by accounting for its most eminent representatives. (Morawski demands, inter alia, the inclusion of our relativists and psychologists in the style of Władysław Witwicki, which I think is completely unnecessary in view of the fact that Witwicki was only a secondary phenomenon and actually neither had anything new to say nor played any role in the history of European aesthetics.) It seems Anglo-Saxon literature was unavailable to Ms Wójcik, but the level of this literature is not very high and would require a great deal of supplementation.

            As for your observation that it was unnecessary to account for Conrad, Geiger, and Scheler, because they were only peripherally concerned with aesthetics – this is true only in relation to Scheler, but he was the creator of the theory of the ‘idealness’ of values, and in relation to Ms Wójcik’s position (which I do not share) he could not be omitted. Waldemar Conrad wrote no papers that are not papers on aesthetics, and had to be taken into account, since the author is, in essence, trying only to justify his position more profoundly and in her own way. Similarly, the chief and only thing of worth in Geiger’s work concerns aesthetics, and he is considered by one and all to be the chief representative of phenomenological aesthetics in the pre-war era. Taking Sobeski into account would be right only, it would seem, for patriotic reasons; all his aesthetics, or ‘Philosophy of art’, is very primitive and naive. Nevertheless, if he was important to Ms Wójcik, she would have to mention him. However, this is not the case (unfortunately, I’ve lost Sobecki’s main book, so I can’t support this with any additional arguments).

            I believe that the second part of Ms Wójcik’s dissertation is incomparably better and more mature and its issues more important; it also contains a series of original ideas. Its fundamental flaw is that, like the first part, it’s badly written in various respects. In the author’s mind, there is some trace of her past illness that weighs down her method of writing, and she’s unable to cope with it. I told you about her illness and thought that you would want to take it under consideration.

            In terms of substance, I don’t agree with the position which Ms Wójcik attempts, in her own way, to justify, but this difference of opinion could not incline me to reject the author’s paper. On the contrary, I think that the doctoral candidate’s independence vis-à-vis her promoter testifies strongly at least to the character of the author; moreover, her independence from her promoter is not groundless opposition, but is based on her own arguments, which ‒ in my opinion ‒ are insufficient, but which the promoter must respect. Unfortunately, you haven’t raised a single complaint against her arguments, but have condemned her entire effort with an unfounded verdict. Too bad.