Minutes of the meeting of the Committee of the Library of Classics of Philosophy written 19.01.1953

Minutes of the meeting no. VI /XI/
of the Editorial Committee of the Library of Classics of Philosophy
held on January 19, 1953


Present: Prof. Kotarbiński – Chairman
    c          Prof. Elzenberg
    c          „     Ingarden
    c          „     Kotarbińska
    c          „     Ossowski
    c          „     Suchodolski
    c          „     Tatarkiewicz

    c          Dir. Marszałek
    c          Dir. Pazyra       representatives of PWN Publishers
    c          Ed. Krońska – Secretary


    c          Agenda:

  1. Reading the minutes of the previous meeting and discussing the state of activities.
  2. Terminological issues related to translations of Kant /presented by prof. Ingarden/.
  3. Free motions.

The chairman opens the meeting, reads the agenda and asks to read the minutes.

Ad 1 The minutes are distributed among those present, and read only in summary.

Regarding the minutes:

    c          Prof. Ingarden asks for a clear mention in the minutes that Dąmbska, PhD – after she has finished her translation of the Interview with Burman – will be entrusted with the translation of Descartes’ Reg. ad. dir. ing.

Mr. Chairman informs that Dąmbska, PhD, has also expressed her willingness to take on work once planned for her by the Committee, and then postponed, namely to develop a selection of writings of medieval logics. The materials necessary for it are in Gdansk. So what the next job of Dąmbska, PhD, will be after the Interview with Burman – the medieval logics or Regulae – will have to be determined in agreement with the translator.

Sec.: Either way, prof. Ingarden’s correction will be introduced to the minutes of the previous meeting.

Chairman: The minutes are hereby adopted with this amendment.

Mr. Chairman asks prof. Ossowski, who could not attend the previous meeting, to present suggestions for further translations from the Department of history of social thought.

Prof. Ossowski briefly discusses the items that are already present in the Committee’s plan, but have not yet been implemented, or should be included in the plan. These include the following:

Milton, Areopagitica, with other writings /e.g. The ready & easy way to establish a true commonwealth /

Winstanley, Law of freedom

Volney: Catéchisme du citoyen francais

Thomas Paine: Rights of Man

Writings of the Hussites, or possibly Chelczycki

Chinese philosophy: Mo-Ti

These translations can be given a lower priority, but should nevertheless be included in the Committee’s work plan.

Mr. Chairman informs all present that the Committee has obtained a poetic translation of Lucretius by the late poet Edward Szymański. This translation is a valuable work of art and a generally faithful rendition of the original; the juxtaposition of selected passages with the Latin text has shown that wherever the translator’s interpretation raises doubts, they are often the fruit of ambiguities present in the Latin text. The Presidium suggests that this translation be published as soon as possible. Although a Polish translation of De rerum natura has already been created by prof. Krokiewicz, who is certainly faithful philologically –Lucretius was a poet, and therefore a poetic translation the would only be right for his work.

Prof. Tatarkiewicz: I read this translation, it is very beautiful. I believe that it should be issued as soon as possible, even at the expense of other items that could be moved. The translation should be issued with footnotes, but placed after the text, not a sub line, and with a double introduction: on Lucretius and the translator.

A discussion ensues, in which most present speak in favor of publishing Szymański’s translation, confirming its high poetic artistry – the only negative vote is that of prof. Elzenberg, who considers the form and cadence selected by the translator /hexameter/ not lyrical and unsuitable for a long philosophical poem, and expresses reservations about the language of the translation.

Prof. Ossowski, returning once more to the contents of the meetings, expresses a conviction that Leviathan cannot be put into production until the end of January and that the deadline must be postponed until the end of February.

Prof. Ingarden asks if it would be possible to change the format of the LCP’S publications, or possibly narrow the columns, so as to wider the margins, Dir. Pazyra explains that the format cannot be changed, and prof. Tatarkiewicz thinks that the column is very well-done and looks good in the current format.

Ed. Krońska raises the issue of notes. A brief discussion leads to the conclusions that the author’s notes must be clearly indicated, while the annotation by the editor’s notes /ed. note/shall be dropped.

Ad 2 Mr. Chairman opens a terminological discussion and gives the floor to prof. Ingarden who will be presenting issues related to the translation of some particularly difficult Kantian terms, while citing specific Kantian contexts and putting forward his own suggestions – and requesting a discussion.

In his opening, the speaker explains that when looking for a Polish equivalent of a Kantian term, he approaches it with the intention to find the best possible dictionary equivalent in our language reflecting the meaning and tone of the word itself while also taking into account the particular conceptual content that the given term has in Kant.

Abstraktion, abstrahieren
This term is not Kantian, Kant took it over from Wolf, specifying only one of its meanings. It is rather rare in his writings. Translating this term in its adjective form as “detached” seems inappropriate for Kant – it might be a good one for Locke. The concept of abstraction and abstracting is ambiguous, has a positive meaning /”distinguish”/ or a negative one /”omit”/. In other situations, abstractness means “non-perceptibility”. The lecturer proposes to translate: abstraction, abstract, to abstract, abstracted – maintaining the full ambiguity of the word.

A discussion ensues, resumed by the Chairman:

The arguments seem convincing and the suggestion correct. Since abstraction can be performed both in a positive and negative sense, I would suggest that in the former case we write to abstract something /contrary to the tradition derived by Twardowski, to avoid combining “abstract” with accusativ/, in the latter – to abstract from something. In Polish original works it would be better – as the speaker suggests – to use Polish terms “distinguish” and “omit”.


Chmielowski translates it as “affliction”, but this term, although linguistically sound, does not match the Kantian term. “Affliction” would etymologically correspond with Aristotle’s “symbekekes” / coincidental and derivative features, but not with Kant’s “Accidens”, which means every determination of a substance. “Akcydens” failed to enter the Polish usus. I suggest to translate “Accidens” as “property” in Kant. This only has one drawback, namely that in Kant A. is not only a qualitative property, but it can also mean a special way of existence, process, activity /e.g. an accidens of a subject is thinking, of matter – movement/.

A longer discussion ensues /prof. Elzenberg suggests using the term Akcydens, prof. Kotarbiński – the term “characteristic” /

Mr. Chairman summarizes the discussion: “property” seems to be a good equivalent. In ambiguous cases, where this term could be misleading /e.g. “movement as a property of matter” would suggest that Kant had a dialectical concept of matter/ it would be necessary to provide a clarification, whether that be in the form of a terminological annex, such as that which prof. Ingarden would like to add to “Critique”, or a well-developed index of terms.

Affektionen, affizieren
Chmielowski translates these terms as “actions”, “act”. Kant has no explanation for these concepts, their meaning can only be inferred from the contexts in which they occur. The term “action” is inappropriate because “affizieren” is not present in every action. “Stimulation” captures the moment of passivity well – but does not reflect the moment of transformation /the “affektion” of an object by the subject is such that the subject cannot come to know the object in itself /. A discussion ensues, which is then summarized by the Chairman. The terms “stimulation” and “stimulate” are the most fitting – they can also be used in the translation of Spinoza.

For Kant, the term has two different meanings: 1/ qualities that the soul acquires by being the soul of a living, bodily creation, so “corporeality”, 2/ qualities which the body acquires as a result of having a soul, so “spirituality”. Chmielowski translates A. as “animation” – this is not a good translation; it does not convey either of Kant’s meanings. The speaker states that he has not found a satisfactory equivalent himself and uses a descriptive translation for this term. Since this term occurs only sporadically, this solution is probably the most appropriate. No one else among those pressent can think of a Polish term that could be used consistently.

Following the decisions made by Chmielowski, the speaker suggests “apperception.” The attempts to translate it as “observation” /as opposed to “perception”/ were regarded unsuccesful –which the participants agree with. The issue of Selbstbewusstsein is related to apperception. In Ed. A. Apperception – Bewusstsein seiner selbst, in Ed. B. App. – Selbstbewusstsein. In “A” self is cognizable as D.a.s., in ed. B. – self is not cognizable as D.a.s., but as a phenomenon. Chmielowski translates both terms sometimes as “self-knowledge”, and sometmes as “self-awareness” – he does so inconsistently, he does not relate these terms to two different Kantian terms. The speaker proposes to use “self-knowledge”, for Selbstbewusstsein, for Bewusstsein seiner selbst – “awareness of oneself”. Participants of the discussion point out that while the original says “Bewusstsein” in both cases, the translation would say “awareness” and “knowledge” – which should be avoided. Prof. Tatarkiewicz suggests “knowledge of oneself” and “self-knowledge”, prof. Kotarbiński – “awareness of oneself” and “self- awareness”, or if the last term cannot be accepted – he would agree with the previous speaker on “knowledge of oneself” and “self-knowledge”. The present members and the speaker agree to the last suggestion. During the discussion of Selbstbewusstsein, Krońska raises the issue of translating das Ich. The speaker translates this term in Kant as “I” /instead of “self”/. The discussion leads to the conclusion that in translations of Kant one should rather use the term “I”, while in works of Hegel and Heglists one can also use the term “self”, which is often more convenient and fitting.

Veränderung – Wechsel
These two Kantian terms have different meanings. “Veränderung” refers to a substance that changes, but remains the same, Wechsel refers to the determinations that “exchanges” with one another, once it is this, once that. The speaker proposes to translate V. as “change” / possibly “transformation” /, and Wechsel through “exchange” /of one for another/. Other suggestions are made in the discussion /e.g. “order” or “substitute” for Wechsel, or “change” for W. and “transformation” for V./ turn out not to be as fitting.

/Vernunfterkenntnis/ aus Begriffen – Chmielowski translates it as: from concepts, the speaker proposes: based on concepts, or derived from concepts, sometimes in specific contexts, based on the concepts themselves or on the very content of the concepts. One has to be able to discern this expression from Kant’s Erkenntnis durch Begriffe and E. aus der Konstruktion der Begriffe.

Mr. Chairman proposes – in cases not requiring additional explanations – to translate pursuant to the concepts instead of based on – the speaker accepts this suggestion, it is a very good expression in terms of both language and content.

Gemeinschaft /one of the categories/. The speaker states that up until this point he has been translating this term as community, but is afraid that it sounds too pompous. Other suggestions are made in the discussion /”commonality”, “mutual interaction”/, however, they are rejected upon closer examination in favor of the previously suggested “community”.

Bestimmung, bestimmen. The speaker suggests Polish definition, define. In the discussion, some speak in support of “determination”, “determine”, / a significant / part advocates for “delineate”. Since none of these equivalents are wrong, the case remains open – the decision remains at the translator’s discretion.

Sinnenwelt v. intelligible Welt

The speaker proposes the translation: “The world available to the senses” or “sensually given” – and intell. Welt – “the world available only to intellect.” In the discussion, proffessors Kotarbiński and Elzenberg express the opinion that “available” is too specified in comparison to the German terms. Krońska suggests keeping the term “sensual”, which in a philosophical context will be understood as “available to the senses.” Professors Elzenberg and Tatarkiewicz propose “world of senses” and “world of intellect”, and these terms gain the approval of the present members.

Beharrlich, Beharrlichkeit. Chmielowski’s translation / “lasting” / blurs the nuance of it not being about the “indestructibility,” but about persistence. Because of this, the speaker suggests “persisting” and – depending on the situation – “persistence”. All present consider these equivalents appropriate.

Schein. Chmielowski translates it as: “delusion”, Logik des Scheins – “logic of delusion”. The referee proposes “illusion,” possibly “deceptive illusion “. Others agree with this choice.

Deduktion /der Kategorien/ – the speaker uses “deduction”. Chmielowski translated it as “inference.” The participants are in favor of inference – as it is a good old term /from 18th century Polish/, reflecting the sense faithfully.

Zergliederung – instead of “dismemberment” /Chmielowski/ the speaker suggests partition, all agree that the term is satisfactory.

Widerstreit. The speaker initially translated it as “contradiction,” based on the 18th-century dictionary, which states that Widerstreit is an outdated synonym for Widerspruch – but then he came across a fragment where Kant states clearly “Widerstreit ist kein Widerspruch”. Professor Kotarbiński proposes conflict, the speaker considers this suggestion to be a very good one.

Regressus /in der Reihe der Bedingungen/ Chmielowski translated it as “retreat”, which doesn’t seem fortunate. The referent proposes “withdrawal” /in a number of conditions/, and sometimes simply regress.

Totalität /der Bedingungen/ Chmielowski translated it as “totality”; the speaker suggests “whole” or “entirety”, the gathered consider both terms to be good, maybe “whole” would even be better.

Prädikamente – the speaker proposes “predicatives” or “predicates”; in the discussion, the voices tilt to the predicaments – provided with appropriate footnotes.

Einsicht – the speaker translates it as “cognition”, sometimes by “insight”. No discussion.

Rezeprivität – Spontanaität – the translator translates by “receptivity” or “experience”, and “spontaneity”. No discussion.

Modi – the speaker suggests “varieties”, stipulating that this is only for modi in Kant, not in Spinoza. This ends the presentation and the discussion.

Ad 3. Free motions.

Ms. Secretary proposes that the next meeting be devoted to discussing the terminology of Aristotle – with the participation of Aristotle’s translators – Gromska, PhD and Plezia, PhD. As per prof. Ingarden’s report, Gromska, PhD, will only be able to get the material ready around April. Therefore, prof. Kolakowski could be invited to the next meeting, and then it could be devoted to a discussion of issues related to Spinoza’s terminology. The exact time of the meeting will be set at a later date – it will probably take place at the beginning of March.

On this note, Mr. Chairman closes the meeting.