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Jonas Čiurlionis, Ph.D., who started to co-operate with AΦR research group in the autumn of 2021, has paid us a visit under the Erasmus agreement between Vilnius University (Lithuania) and University of Zielona Góra. Dr. Čiurlionis researches philosophical principles of ancient scientific ideas, including those of Aristotle, their development and reception. More information on his activities can be found here.
At the University of Zielona Góra dr. Čiurlionis has delivered English lectures for graduate students in the doctoral school, for undergraduate students of philosophy and for students of physics. All his talks were devoted to various aspects of mathematical, harmonical and musical foundations of scientific theories of antiquity, for example, concept of four elements, Platonic theory of creation of the world, or Aristotelian theory of movement and change. What was of special significance for the members of the AΦR group, was that dr Čiurlionis explored extensively reception and development of these concepts later in antiquity, in the middle ages and Renaissance.
One of the aims of dr. Čiurlionis’ visit in Zielona Góra was to take an essential part in doctoral seminar (in Polish) and consult the progress of Adrian Habura, M.A., who is composing his disseration on reception of Aristotle’s philosophy in works of Władysław Tatarkiewicz, for dr. Čiurlionis was appointed as an auxiliary supervisor for A. Habura’s thesis.
A paper by Adrian Habura, discussing Władysław Tatarkiewicz’s (1886-1980) works on ancient philosophy, which had been published by him by 1947, was published in “Ruch Filozoficzny” (vol. 77, 2021, iss. 3), the second oldest Polish philosophical journal. The paper is structured chronologically and presents results of careful sifting of all Tatarkiewicz’s works published before 1947.
Władysław Tatarkiewicz was a historian of philosophy and a philosopher, who studied ancient Greek philosophy throughout his entire research career. It is not surprising to say that he considered ancient philosophy to be the foundation of European philosophy. Furthermore, his original philosophical works indicate that the investigations of ancient Greeks were his major inspiration. The aim of this article is to provide an outline of those of Tatarkiewicz’s works in which Greek philosophy was explored by him as a topic of his historical research or used as the source of inspiration for his original philosophical reflection. The analysis of Tatarkiewicz’s works that were focused on Greek philosophy is related to Tatarkiewicz’s methodology. All this taken together allows to give a preliminary answer to the question of the significance of ancient Greek philosophy for his philosophical development and for philosophy in Poland in general.
Habura traces Tatarkiewicz’s academic biography back to his Ph.D. thesis from Marburg, which was devoted to Aristotle – and later reviewed by D. Ross – and Aristotelian inspirations in his subsequent paper on Weltansichten. One of the results of Tatarkiewicz’s stay in Marburg was his research on Plato, largely inspired by his Marburg teachers, Paul Natorp and Hermann Cohen. Later works by Tatarkiewicz in ethics, including his habilitation thesis, reveal his continuous direct and indirect references to Greek philosophers. In 1931 two volumes of his History of Philosophy saw the light of day, his opus magnum in historiography of philosophy, including, obviously, chapters on the Greeks, and in 1947 his treatise On Happiness appeared, with numerous references to ancient ethical systems.
This paper offers not only a mere report of Tatarkiewicz’s references to the ancients, but moreover, Habura succeeded in indicating connection between Tatarkiewicz’s historical interest in ancient philosophy and his own original research in philosophy and ethics.
Full paper in Polish is available on the journal’s website here.
A paper on a metamorphosis of Plato’s Phaedo, from its original form through Moses Mendelssohn’s (1729-1786) Phädon to its Polish translation by Jakub Tugendhold (1794-1871), was published in a journal of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, “Człowiek i Społeczeństwo”.
Tomasz Mróz in his paper discusses M. Mendelssohn’s work Phaedo and its Polish translation which was published in 1829 by J. Tugendhold. Although this book did not exert impact on Polish philosophy, Tugendhold, the translator, aimed to use Mendelssohn’s biography and his Phaedo as an instructive example for those representatives of Jewish community who wanted to free themselves from isolation and undergo social and economic, though not religious, assimilation into their Polish and Christian surrounding.
A brief comparison of Plato’s and Mendelssohn’s Phaedos was included in this paper. Polish translator’s aims were also discussed, for his target audience was Jewish community in Polish society. Tugendhold was the adherent of haskalah and he spared no effort to improve the existence of his compatriots and to inspire them to join in modern societies without losing their religious autonomy.
Philosophical content of the Phaedo, the arguments on the immortality of the soul, in both versions, Plato’s and Mendelssohn’s, reinforced Tugendhold’s views, as they were the example of the fact that Judaism and Christianity, not to mention Plato, are ultimately based on the same belief, on the immortality of the soul.
Full paper, in Polish, can be downloaded from the journal’s website.
The Days of Foreign Languages took place again at the University of Zielona Góra, and it was their VIIth edition. Their general topic this year, that is, lack, absence, deficiency, violence, exclusion etc., did not come as a surprise in current circumstances.
Two members of AΦR group took part in this event. Mariam Sargsyan delivered a paper in Russian on various metaphors with which the notion of “consciousness” is described, but it was Adrian Habura whose presentation was devoted to the reception of ancient philosophy.
His paper discussed the problem of happiness and well-being in Władysław Tatarkiewicz’s (1886-1880) life and his autobiographical notes, esp. the chapter titled Beneficial misfortunes (Korzystne niepowodzenia). Habura confronted it with Tatarkiewicz’s treatise Analysis of Happiness and some other of his ethical writings. He attempted to demonstrate that Tatarkiewicz, almost like a Homeric hero, many times in his life turned his misfortunes into success, and how Aristotle’s philosophy and Tatarkiewicz’s own research on Aristotle – from his Ph.D. thesis in Marburg to mature works in Warsaw – helped him develop his attitude to the problems of human life in general, and how his theory of happiness was rooted in Greek philosophy, above all in Aristotle.
Two members of AΦR Group, together with an AΦR friend, took part in Classical Studies Workshop in Greece. This tour event took place in the first ten days of October and was organised by The Sant-Tech Foundation in co-operation with Catholic University of Lublin (KUL).
It was an unforgettable tour of Greece from Athens to Thessaloniki, including Delphi, Marathon, Meteora, Pella, Stageira and many more places of archeological interest, many of which being extremely important for philosophers and historians of philosophy, e.g. Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lycaeum, ancient Stageira or Nymphaeum in Mieza. The whole stay and the journey were carefully planned by Katarzyna Kołakowska and Lesław Lesyk (both of KUL and Sant-Tech Foundation), who smoothly adapted the workshop’s schedule to unexpected conditions.
The chronological order of the papers delivered by participants from Zielona Góra is: 1) Was the First Computer Designed by the Greeks? (M. Kurzawa, at the footsteps of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens; third from the left in the photo below). The speaker focused on the history of research on the Antikythera mechanism, which is preserved in this Museum, and its unbelievable construction. 2) Aristotle in the Lycaeum (T. Mróz, in the archeological site of… Aristotle’s Lycaeum; first on the right) discussed briefly the excavations in this location and presented the outlines of the history of the Philosopher’s school.
Due to unfavourable weather conditions the following presentations were delivered en route to Thessaloniki, that is, on the bus: 3) Aristotle on the Beach (M. Kurzawa) was a paper devoted to Aristotle’s works in natural sciences and focused on his anecdotal scientific curiosity which gave rise to his theories, which still amaze us to this day. 4) Aristotle as the Greatest Teacher of Happiness (A. Habura; second from the left in the photo). The speaker presented the most essential Aristotle’s instructions on achieving happiness from the Nicomachean Ethics and highlighted their universal character, which was additionally substantiated by the studies of W. Tatarkiewicz, a recognised Polish historian of philosophy and ethician, on the same subject. 5) Polish Historians of Philosophy and Classics Scholars on Their Journeys to Greece (T. Mróz). This was rather a loose speech than academic paper and it presented three Polish scholars (W. Dzieduszycki, T. Sinko, W. Witwicki) and their memories of visiting historical places, some of which at the times of their journeys looked differently then they do today, and their observations on modern Greeks, which in turn appear sometimes to tally with today’s impressions of Greece.
The paper presents L. Campbell, his research on Plato, and the collection of letters sent to this Scottish scholar by: James Martineau (1805–1900), William Hepworth Thompson (1810–1886), Paul Shorey (1857–1934), Wincenty Lutosławski (1863–1954), Eduard Gottlob Zeller (1814–1908), Franz Susemihl (1826–1901), and Theodor Gomperz (1832–1912). This collection supplements the knowledge of the research on Plato’s dialogues at the turn of the 20th century, since Plato scholars in their letters touched on the issues relating to the methods and results of the research on the chronology of Plato’s dialogues. They made judgements concerning the works of other academics, they sent to each other their own publications, and reported on the progress of their studies. They also did not shy away from making personal remarks and communicating personal reflections.
Publishing this paper was preceded by a research stay in Cambridge in June and July 2016, which was sponsored by Lanckoroński Foundation. Additionally, archival materials from St Andrews University Library (Special Collections) supplemented the whole work.
The paper in Polish is available on the journal’s website here.