|Edited by Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska
Amsterdam-Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1996
The author discusses two main issues. First, the hermeneutic dimension of social science and the controversies connected with such a view (e.g. explanation vs. understanding). Secondly, the author claims that such a hermeneutic dimension of social science stands in need of a normative foundation (in view of the methodological controversy between the Frankfurt School and Popper’s adherents).
Jerzy Kmita’s version of Marxism and its relationship to the official Marxism is examined. The peculiarities of his original views are put forward and some of them are critically commented on.
The author has identified a number of aspects of Jerzy Kmita’s approach to the Frankfurt School and the structuralist tradition, including: (I) the problem of criticism, (II) the task of the humanities, (III) legitimacy in the humanities and regularities in culture, (IV) the advantages of structuralism, (V) the question why structuralism is doomed to be pre- theoretical (VI) cognitive interests and their logical status, (VII) persuasion and ethical priority of interests. Quoting extensively from Kmita’s texts the author reconstructs the basic critical synthetic evaluations proposed there in order to show their controversial, if not unverified status. The paper defends the view attributing to the Frankfurt School tradition and Habermas in particular, as well as to structuralism, a more profound and a much less naive or incoherent approach. The axes of Kmita’s criticism, however, are shown to be important lines of analysis.
The main goal of the article is to place the epistemological views of Jerzy Kmita in the context of two different ways of thinking about cognition and science which can be found in recent philosophical works: the modernist and the postmodernist ones. The author is especially interested in the way in which Kmita treats the problems of reality, truth and cognitive progress as well as the way he tries to draw some ethical conclusions from the way science works. The author argues that Kmita keeps a balance between modernism and postmodernism by depriving science of all its myths and trying to stay faithful to its general ethical ethos.
This is an attempt to reconstruct a fragment of A.J. Greimas’s semiotic conception of culture concerning the category of truth. Greimas’s views are confronted with J. Kmita’s conception of the revealed truth or postmodernism in general. Both philosophers, recognizing the philosophical inevitability of postmodernist views, try to defend the constructivity of modernist assumptions.
Rorty’s holism has two aspects: “extrinsic,” physical, and “intrinsic,” semantic or intentional. I am interested in the latter aspect only. It is supposed to be “irreducible” to an “extrinsic” aspect. The entirety of “beliefs and desires” expressed by a relevant text (texts) is gradually formed within a framework of interpretive procedures that assume the “disquotatively” seen “truth” of the majority of sentences being interpreted, their coherence and accordance with the rules of a given “linguistic game.” Particular “true beliefs” assemble around objects that are “postulated” by them: “true” sentences supposed to express those “beliefs” cluster around “centers of gravity” constituted by proper terms. The notion of reference of these terms is unnecessary and misleading: it is not the world that provides references, nor does it make sentences “true.” I basically agree with that idea and consider it to be another step in the “disenchantment of the world” (Weber). But I see the necessity of taking into account of the fact that “intrinsic” entirety of “beliefs” is grounded by “intrinsic” causality that works in practice and that this fact is distinguished in culture precisely by the term “reference.”
This article describes the way Jerzy Kmita defines scientism and tries to avoid it within his own philosophy of science. He wants to overcome scientism not by simply rejecting it but by raising his own discourse above the level on which the scientism vs. anti-scientism opposition takes place. Two objections are raised in this connection. First, the very definition of scientism is different than the one widely adopted among philosophers and social scientists. As a result, J. Kmita opposes a phenomenon which is not very common and, the second objection, he seems to embrace another version of scientism, one which is much more popular: a belief in a strict and an ahistorical separation of facts and values, the identification of rational knowledge with science and the ascription of the problem of the choice of values to the existential and irrational sphere of individual decisions.
Kmita’s views are placed in the context of the ongoing dialogue between Quine, Putnam and Davidson. The argument shows that an attempt to relativize truth or to relinquish the concept of truth cannot be consistent. The Weberian interpretive neutrality, this remnant of scientism that still afflicts Kmita’s program, is not available to us if we realize that interpretation inevitably presupposes a normative appraisal of beliefs and actions against a shared background of truths. Bringing this to our attention may help us improve our understanding of others no matter how remote they seem. Let us, students of culture, take off the masks of social engineers and disclose the faces of philosophers.
According to J. Kmita, the following types of determination take part in the development of science: functional, genetic and subjectively-rational which is a type of causal determination. The aim of this paper is to outline the role of these types of determination in the development of science in J. Kmita s formulation and to present a proposal considering the relation between functionally genetic and subjectively rational determination.
The paper refers to some issues which were considered by J. Kmita in his works in the field of historical epistemology. J. Kmita’s account of the opposition of theory and experience, holism, the controversy between realists and the instrumentalists, and the question of the relation among scientific theories is investigated in the light of J. Sneed’s structuralist approach to science. It is claimed that the application of J. Sneed’s conceptual apparatus makes it possible to offer a better account of these issues than Kmita’s.
The problem of the rationality of human actions viewed from the perspective of Jerzy Kmita’s historical epistemology is discussed. Several standpoints seeking a via media between rationalism and relativism, i.e. those of Jarvie, Horton, Tambiah, Horton and Hanson, are criticized. The assumption of rationality which refers to the consistency of actors’ actions with the beliefs shared by them is advanced. It is congruent with the ideas of historical epistemology and leads to a cultural relativization of the notion of rationality. The latter does not contain any universal, e.g. scientifically defined, elements, but is always identified in the context of a given culture.
This article discusses the still ongoing controversy between scientists and anti-scientists as to the cognitive status of value-judgments in the humanities. The cognitive standpoint adopted in this paper refers to certain ideas of Marxian historical materialism and employs the assumptions of the social-regulative conception of culture proposed by Jerzy Kmita. The object of this controversy is examined in terms of the (objective) social functions of particular disciplines performed within the humanities at various stages of their historical development.
It is argued that intentional, functional and a special kind of causal explanation are of a different nature than explanations by subsumption under a law or theory and that they nevertheless have a sound logical structure and a substantive information content. In contrast to most defenses of such claims, it is not argued that these explanations compete with the eventual nomological explanation of the same facts. On the contrary, though highly informative, they are not so pretentious.
Action theory, in the guise of the ‘rational man’ theory and theories of action explanation appealing to principles or assumptions of rationality, was the earliest topic which the Poznan theoreticians — Kmita and Nowak investigated. In this essay I attempt to explore the parallels and differences between the mainstream, analytic philosophy of action, which has developed theories of rational action, and that of the Poznan theorists. I concentrate on two questions: ‘what does “rationality” denote as regards the structure of action?’ and what follows as regards the nature of agency?’ I suggest that the interpretational paradigm is incompatible with a ‘realist’ conception of action and is thus immune to the more scientifically minded programs for explanatory reduction. These results are then confronted with the theories of the Poznan school. The complicating factor in the latter case is the use made by the Poznan theoreticians of Marxist concepts. I conclude that the Poznan theory, while remaining in most respects within the framework of the interpretational paradigm, failed to combine it consistently with the Marxist conception of practice and the social ontology read into it.
Human rationality depends on social interrelations among people. Referring to the non- Christian model of man (cf. the author’s Power and Civil Society, Greenwood Press, New York 1991) three areas of acts undertaken by a person are distinguished: the areas of irrationality, rationality and counter-rationality. It is only in (socially) normal conditions that an actor follows the principle of rationality. Some phenomena of the highest importance (e.g., revolutions) cannot be properly conceptualized under the assumption of rational behavior on the part of the agents involved, at least those from the ‘civil society’ side of the social barricade.
The theory of rationality (Kmita, Nowak, Swiderski), its assumptions and relation to humanistic interpretation are discussed, followed by comparison between Popper’s and Hempel’s views on the rationality principle as well as on physical and historical explanations. They are then confronted with W. Dray’s concepts. The author presents von Wright’s scheme of inference (practical syllogism) pointing out its differences from and analogies with Kmita’s scheme. He concludes that Kmita’s model is closer to the spirit of the Popper-Hempel conception of scientific explanation than that of von Wright.
The use of the conception of humanistic interpretation (J. Kmita) in jurisprudence offers specific problems. They are presented and discussed in the article with special attention to the consequence of distinguishing between humanistic historical interpretation and humanistic adaptive interpretation. There follows a thorough discussion of the humanistic interpretation of legal texts, the rationality of the legislator (L. Nowak) and the tasks of a lawyer while formulating legal norms.
I deal with the concept of “functional determination” in Kmita’s works. Some of the weak points of the conception are discussed. The problem of methodological individualism and some questions concerning Marxist tradition in Kmita’s philosophy are also examined.
The article comments on Jerzy Kmita’s functional theory of culture and its relations and application to sociology, particularly to the sociology of knowledge. The theory forms a general conceptual scheme involving various domains of social sciences and due to its sweeping scale which includes philosophical and methodological considerations as well as social ones — it generalizes rather than explains in detail. Although the author accepts Kmita’s idea of a functional-genetic explanation of social and cultural phenomena, he sees it rather as a starting point for concrete sociological investigation.
Kmita’s theory of culture presupposes some model notion of the human subject depending upon the description of the culture. The characterization of such a subject appears equivalent to some characterization of culture. Apart from the model notion of a human subject Kmita also deals with real subjects being participants in a given culture. But here a problem emerges: what is the relation binding the model-subject to the real subjects entangled in a given culture? Such relation is not defined in Kmita’s work. In effect, the theory may be suspected of inconsistency and subjected to criticism.
Following from Kmita’s conception of science and his distinction between two types of practice (social practice and research practice), the author analyzes the relationships obtaining between psychology as science (in Kmita’s terms), on the one hand, and social practice building on the research results obtained by psychologists, on the other. The author cites the critique of the methodological model employed by the so-called practical sciences and refers it to the common belief entertained by psychologists that there is a need to make a distinction between two varieties of psychology: the academic variety, enjoying the methodological status of a fundamental science (on the model of physics), and the applied variety, awarded the methodological status of a practical science (on the model of pedagogy). The author’s main argument is that it is only reasonable to speak of one psychology with many applications. The article is concluded by a presentation of the pattern of information flow between the domains of social practice and research practice.
Education is seen as the totality of processes and actions which are conducive to individual development. Education in its broadest sense encompasses ten processes: 1) globalization (introduction into global problems of humanity); 2) etatization (instilling acceptance of the state); 3) nationalization (in the ethnic sense, seen as the assimilation of national/ethnic traditions and national/ethnic distinctiveness); 4) collectivization or secondary socialization (growing into the traditions and interests of one’s social class or social group); 5) professionalization (introduction into organized social structures and vocational/professional roles); 6) primary socialization and nurture (growing into norms and roles within primary groups); 7) enculturation and personalization (growing into culture; reaching autonomy of moral choices which constitute personal identity); 8) education for citizenship and law (introduction into citizen roles, the shaping of legal awareness); 9) instruction and humanization (transmission of knowledge, skills and communicative competence); 10) hominization (instillation of habits pertaining to hygiene and health). A harmonious balance between the processes is decisive for an individual’s successful development. Conversely, an imbalance between the constituent processes results in developmental pathologies falling into two basic categories: pathologies of excess and pathologies of deficit.
The paper presents two main theories of intentionality that can be an extension of Brentano’s famous thesis. In particular, these theories correspond to two possible ways of comprehending Husserl’s conception of intentionality (the Gurwitschian and Follesdalian one). The author argues that the two theories, and thus the two interpretations of Husserl’s views, are basically consistent with each other.
Several versions of progressivism are presented and discussed (C.S. Peirce, K.R. Popper, Th. Kuhn, I. Lakatos L. Laudan). Peirce’s doctrine (fallibilism) is subjected to analysis and critique (Quine) as well as Hegel’s philosophy in this matter. Hempel and Putnam are referred to as representatives of progressivism in science. A discussion of Popper’s views as confronted with Kuhn’s theory closes the article.
The notion of truth is one of the main categories of the historical profession. Historical truth is for historians not only a philosophical but also a moral category. It is not necessarily the classical truth presupposing metaphysical realism. The expectations of historians could possibly better satisfy other conceptions of truth like the conception of non-referential truth proposed by Hillary Putnam. The notion of truth should be applied not only to singular sentences but also to whole narratives. This is indispensable insofar as historical narrative is composed not only of articulated but also of non-articulated layers which carry informative persuasive (rhetorical), ideological and theoretical content.
The paper’s aim is to systematize (on the basis of their premises) the theories of religion and magic developed within anthropological evolutionism and the French sociological school. According to the received view, these theories can be divided into psychological and sociological, the former being further divided into intellectualist and emotionalist. This view is analyzed and rejected as misconstruing the resemblance between them. The author argues that all traditionally distinguished forms of theories involved can be more properly construed as a typology. Such a typology may include many types of theories of religion and/or magic, from purely intellectualist ones (Tylor, Frazer), through intermediate intellectualist-emotionalist theories (Lubbock) and emotionalist theories (Marret) to sociological theories (Hubert-Mauss-Durkheim)
The objective of the text is to relate Cassirer’s philosophy of culture expounded in his “Philosophy of Culture” to the problems of community and modernity. The author approaches Cassirer’s philosophy of culture as a theory of modernity, where differentiation of symbolic forms acts as a motor of modernization. In the ideal case, symbolic forms complete each other creating a merge of various perspectives allowing us to understand the world. The history of modernity, however, makes us aware of the continuous danger of social crises in which there appears a temptation to return to the mystical community spirit. This danger can be averted only through transformations of the mythical energies underlying each experience.
The paper is an attempt to analyze the concept of translatability from the standpoint of social philosophy and theory of communication. The main questions concern the relation between translating and understanding, the communicative functions of language, the connection of monological and dialogical discourse form with two different kinds of human interests (symbolic and economic), and finally the dialogical roots of intersubjective rationality in the modern world.
This essay written in 1988 takes the problem of the modern artist in his (her) relation to the social world which underwent criticisms from many sides at least from Spengler on. The author explains what is to be understood by culture versus civilization, and by the concept of crisis. Four main attitudes of the artist are distinguished, namely: bearing witness to the crisis, contesting the status quo, safeguarding art’s sovereignty and dignity by the continuation of its heritage, or resisting the ways of things around by bidding farewell to artistic practice in the shape established for centuries. These attitudes are confronted with the philosophic conceptions of the interwar period and the sociological ideas after World War II from the 50s to the 70s. Another issue which is dealt with is the turning from the avant-garde approach especially graspable in the fourth attitude (pertinent to anti-art or post-art) to postmodernism. The author renders and estimates the latter as the very symptom of cultural crisis, i.e. its outcome and passive approval because of programmatically giving up any emancipatory project. In the Postscriptum (1991) the assumptions of the essay are checked and an attempt is made to enter into dialogue with Jerzy Kmita’s texts dealing with the same problems.
Uses, perceptions and presentations of science in art are discussed. The text focuses on the peculiar change in the relationship between art and science that has occurred in the 20th century. Modernity and the historic artistic avant-garde made use of science. World War II atrocities evoked mistrust of art toward technological developments. Philosophy, however, more than art becomes critical of science (the Frankfurt School). In postmodern art, the role and use of science is limited to the use of its technical or technological products (references to the conceptions of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Richard Rorty).
In the socio-practical theory of culture, art is conceived as a form of consciousness that regulates artistic practice (J. Kmita). The avant-garde is considered as the meta- consciousness of modern art that legitimizes anti-traditional artistic practice and looks for a new objective function of art. Several concepts of the avant-garde are discussed (Ortega y Gasset, Greenberg, Adorno, Lukacs), followed by a debate on the relations between the avant-garde and modern art, with references to the theories of Bell, Habermas, Burger, Ortega y Gasset, Greenberg, Calinescu, Poggioli, Morawski and Kirby. The conflict between aesthetics and the avant-garde interpretation of the objective function of art is reviewed.
The article aims at reconstruction of the auto-diagnosis of two literary generations: 1) authors whose first publications appeared in the late 20’s, and 2) authors who had their debut in the years 1960-1980. The notion of generation status is defined in reference to Jerzy Kmita’s conception. The author approaches the category of “generation” in accordance with Pinder’s and Mannheim’s conception of “simultaneous non- simultaneity.” According to it, a “generation” is a community whose discriminating feature is not the objective historic time but the subjective experience of the community. Two aspects of generation status — common experience of history and common estimation of values and objectives — correspond with two different models of interpretation.
In this paper I propose to conceive a work of art as a “transhistorical structure.” This structure is a distinctive “humanistic structure” (in Kmita’s sense of the term) corresponding to, what we call intuitively, the “proper work of art,” and having a particular “constancy.” A transhistorical structure is a set of successive historical-social alternative interpretative formulations of the same physical artistic product. The reality of the “transhistorical structure” is connected with the intersubjective character of the rules of symbolic culture. A work of art in the sense presented here is also a result from our memory of interpretations previously made. Thus, it can be said that the “transhistoricity” of the structure of a work of art consists in the fact, that due to various interpretations, the process of transmitting values is maintained.
The article is devoted to a theoretical interpretation of musical practice. It situates music in the sphere of cultural phenomena, indicating the dependence of creative acts and musical perception on the consciousness base which is identified with musical culture. Analyses relating to this culture, and also to its bonds with musical practice, are based on foundations and notions taken from J. Kmita’s theory of culture.
Historical and adaptive interpretations in artistic practice are discussed (J. Kmita, post- Heideggerian hermeneutics, Ricoeur, Gadamer). Various trends in the postmodern reflection accompanying artistic practice argue for rejection of both the category of work of art and interpretation as a proper “realization” of this work. Structuralism and hermeneutics are touched upon in this context. There follows a discussion on idealizing and concrete/rationalizing models of humanistic interpretation, then, on aesthetic thinking and aesthetic values.
The present essay has three main threads. The first is the story of the principles of thinking that the author adopted towards the practice of the academic humanities, as well as towards his conjectures on the subject of that practice. The story in question is included first of all in the Introduction that draws the picture of e.g. the history of development of the author’s intellectual interests, as well as in the first part of the essay: Methodological Assumptions and the Field of Conjectures Connected with Them. The second and the third threads are devoted to the author’s two particular conjectures. These conjectures are presented in the next part of the essay, entitled The Socio- Regulative Conception of Culture, and in its final part: The Theoretical History of Science.
The general position towards which the author is heading, as far as he can see it, is termed by him cultural relativism “with a small ‘r’“. That is what the title of the essay derives from. Obviously, the title makes use of H. Putnam’s well-known formulation of realism “with a small ‘r’“ by means of which the famous philosopher distinguishes between his “internal realism” and metaphysical (including scientistic) realism that represents realism “with a capital ‘R’.” The author refers to Putnam’s terminology to stress the analogy of the dispute between supporters and opponents of realism “with a capital ‘R”’ with the dispute between supporters and opponents of cultural relativism. What is at stake in both cases is a so far insoluble philosophical (metaphysical, if one prefers) dispute. The author interprets cultural relativism, that is to say, cultural relativism “with a capital ‘R’ ,” as a belief in the impossibility of construing (at least) such a “supercultural” conceptual system from the perspective of which conceptual systems of all cultures (in practice: conceptual systems of all cultures from a definite but open class of the ,” as a belief in the impossibility of construing (at least) such a “supercultural” conceptual system from the perspective of which conceptual systems of all cultures (in practice: conceptual systems of all cultures from a definite but open class of them) would be translatable into one another. The view of opponents of relativism so seen states the possibility of construing (at least) the relevant “superculture.”
The position that the author assumes and attempts to develop, which he terms cultural relativism “with a small ‘r’ “, is located outside the dispute over cultural relativism “with a capital ‘R”’. That is the position according to which different reconstructions of particular cultures (as well as the conceptual systems connected with them) can be comparatively evaluated from the point of view of the scope of the interpretative and predictive possibilities of those reconstructions. What is at stake is the possibility of interpretation and prediction of intentional actions that are regulated by the culture being reconstructed. These reconstructions, obviously, are performed within particular cultures. Minimal or null interpretive and predictive possibilities of all reconstructions of the culture A that come into play within the culture B testify to untranslatability of (a conceptual system) of the culture A into the culture B.
Cultural relativism “with a small ‘r’ “ is based on the socio-regulative conception of culture. The conception is presented in the second part of the essay within the framework of the author’s conjecture that it is an implicit assumption of the interpretive practice of the academic humanities. The culture in a socio-regulative sense of a given community is composed of a set of pairs of beliefs of the following type: “ a norm that shows an aim-value, a directive that shows an action sufficient to and/or necessary for the realization of that aim”; these beliefs are comregulative sense of a given community is composed of a set of pairs of beliefs of the following type: “ a norm that shows an aim-value, a directive that shows an action sufficient to and/or necessary for the realization of that aim”; these beliefs are commonly followed in that community. The culture so understood consists of two spheres: instrumental and symbolic. They differ in the type of directives they include. The directives of a symbolic culture may show effective actions only on the condition that they are followed in the whole community (e.g. “To greet somebody, one has to, under proper circumstances, take one’s hat off”), whereas the directives of instrumental culture do not exhibit that feature (e.g. “To grow a plant one has to, under proper circumstances, secure access to sunlight and water for it”).
The third part of the essay (The Theoretical History of Science) presents a conjecture that the history of science (that emerges in the West in the 17th and 18th centuries) constitutes itself in the following context. Three meanings of the word “science” are distinguished here: science  is a set of epistemological and methodological norms and directives, that is, a certain domain of symbolic culture; science  is a practice regulated by science ; science  is a result of science , that is, scientific knowledge. We interpret science  making use of a reconstruction of science , whereas we interpret science  making use of reconstructions of science  and science . We also explain science  functionally, showing its function that consists in providing instrumentally effective “technologies.” That is the way we also indirectly explain science , and, finally, science .