The concept of the university, of scientific freedom, of the unity of scientific creativity and university teaching etc., appear in scientific meetings and journals on various more or less ceremonial occasions. The main idea of The Idea of the University is to treat all these concepts scientifically, that is, to analyze them. And so, K. Ajdukiewicz in his classic paper in the Polish philosophy of science, “On Freedom of Science,” explicates the notion of scientific rationality and considers the conditions necessary for being scientifically rational. Freedom of thought and speech proves to be one of the crucial conditions of rationality. K. Szaniawski (“Plus ratio quam vis”) attempts to ground the idea of scientific rationality in the more fundamental notion of the rationality of action in the sense of the decision theory. Some other aspects and/or conditions of scientific rationality are analyzed in the papers by L. Gumanski (“The Ideal University and Reality”), J. Topolski (“The Commonwealth of Scholars and New Conceptions of Truth” ) and L. Koj (“Science, Teaching and Values”). L. Kolakowski (“What Are Universities For?”) defends the “very idea of truth in the sense established in our culture,” i.e. the classic notion of truth, against the recent “mental fashion aiming at cancelling it.” J. Kmita (“Is a ‘Creative Man of Knowledge’ Needed in University Teaching?”) considers the traditional claim that the university teaching requires creativity on the part of a teacher and sets it with Rorty’s idea of the “ironist” attitude toward knowledge. L. Nowak (“The Personality of Researchers and the Necessity of Schools in Science”) defines three types of scientific personalities (creative, corrective, applicative) in methodological terms, and argues that making a scientific theory as conceived of in the idealizational approach to science requires a collaboration of all of them either in the work of a great scholar or in a scientific school.

The book opens with a classic writing by the founder of Polish analytical philosophy, Kazimierz Twardowski’s “On the Majesty of the University.” It closes with J. Brzezinski’s paper (“Reflections on the University”) which reconstructs a typology of the cognitive values and interrelations between them, presupposed in the Grand Charter of European Universities adopted at the meeting of rectors of European universities in Bologna, 1988.