News

Christmas and New Year wishes from the Committee

The Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences wishes you a peaceful and joyful Christmas spent with your loved ones and a lot of health and happiness in the New Year.

Photo: Monika Stawowy, public domain.

Composition of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences for the new term

The Polish Academy of Sciences announced the results of the elections to the scientific, program and scientific committees, which ended on November 24, 2023. We know the composition of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences for the 2024-2027 term.

In the new term, the philosophers’ community in the Committee on Philosophical Sciences will be represented by: prof. Gabriela Besler, prof. Adam Chmielewski, prof. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski, prof. Adam Grobler, prof. Piotr Gutowski, prof. Tomasz Homa, prof. Janusz Kaczmarek, prof. Andrzej Kaniowski, prof. Leszek Koczanowicz, prof. Tomasz Kubalica, prof. Roman Kubicki, prof. Piotr Kulicki, prof. Dariusz Łukasiewicz, prof. Paweł Łuków, prof. Justyna Miklaszewska, prof. Marcin Miłkowski, prof. Ryszard Mordarski, prof. Roman Murawski, prof. Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska, prof. Michał Piekarski, prof. Wojciech Sady, prof. Tadeusz Stefan Szubka, prof. Artur Szutta, prof. Adam Świeżyński, prof. Kordula Świętorzecka, prof. Monika Walczak, prof. Jan Woleński, prof. Maciej Woźniczka, prof. Krzysztof Wójtowicz, prof. Renata Ziemińska.

The new term of office will begin on January 1, 2024. Congratulations to the newly elected Committee members.


Summary of the 12th Polish Philosophical Congress at the KNF meeting

“We were pleasantly surprised and pleased that the Congress was such a success,” said Prof. Elżbieta Jung, summarizing the 12th Polish Philosophical Congress (XII Polski Zjazd Filozoficzny) at the meeting meeting of the Committee on Philosophical Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences on November 17. She noted that over 600 people took part in the meeting, which took place on September 11-16, 2023 at the University of Łódź.

Prof. Jung also drew attention to a special feature of this congress, which was the very active participation of doctoral students and even students. She mentioned that the organizers, when designing the formula of this event, assumed the participation of doctoral students. According to the organizers, this experience has shown that when accepting applications, in some cases the selection should be a bit more thorough or young researchers should be given more instructions on what to present, especially since they often have really extensive knowledge. Overall, the organizers assessed the participation of young researchers very positively. “The scientific community could integrate. The young people had the opportunity to meet outstanding Polish philosophers. And we had the opportunity to find out what the development of philosophy in Poland is like at the moment. And it looks very good,” said Prof. Jung.

In the report, the KNF member recalled that the 12th Polish Philosophical Congress consisted of plenary lectures, two debates, sessions in thematic sections, symposia, colloquia, philosophical performances, as well as accompanying events, such as a jazz concert and film screenings. She also emphasized the active presence of publishing houses and organizations promoting philosophy. Finally, she also pointed out that the full report contains useful information for the organizers of subsequent editions about what is worth improving and what to pay attention to.

Below is a recording of the opening of the 12th Philosophical Congress in Łódź, published by the University of Łódź:


Plantinga’s “Where the Conflict Really Lies” in Polish: now on sale

Polish translation of Alvin Plantinga’s book Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism has just been published as a continuation of the Library of Contemporary Philosophers series.

As the scientific editor of the publication, prof. Dariusz Łukasiewicz points out in the book’s description, the work is “a naturalistic view of the world and takes up the challenge posed to religion by the new atheism.” “In defense of the rationality of Christian theism, Plantinga reaches for the achievements of modern quantum physics, cosmology, molecular biology and uses the tools of modern logic and mathematics. The author argues that naturalism is not only an erroneous position, but also internally contradictory, and its acceptance is a form of irrationalism, because an exclusively biological and evolutionary explanation of human nature means no guarantee for the reliability of our cognitive faculties.”

The author of the translation is Elżbieta Łukasiewicz. The book was published in October 2023 by Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN in the BWF series, continued as part of a project conducted by the KNF PAN together with the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw, headed by KNF member prof. Krzysztof Wójtowicz from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw.

The full description of the book can be found here.


KNF Plenary Meeting on September 14, 2023

Critical voices on the scoring of journals and the discussion on their grading systems dominated the plenary meeting of the Polish Academy of Sciences on September 14, 2023. The meeting took place in Łódź during the 12th Polish Philosophical Congress (organized at the University of Łódź), after the end of the evening proceedings.

Members of the Polish Academy of Sciences emphasized the arbitrariness of awarding points to journals. They pointed out that the current practice in this area had made the entire scoring system ridiculous.

They also discussed the possibility of introducing fair systems for rating journals and articles, distinguishing between different models, such as assessment based on bibliometric data, expert assessment, assessment by readers and relying on algorithms using artificial intelligence. By identifying the shortcomings of various solutions, they drew attention to the possibilities of pathology and cheating. In particular, the inefficiency of systems based on quantitative measures and the departure from this type of solutions were pointed out.

At the meeting on September 14, the progress of the project devoted to the publication of subsequent volumes from the Library of Contemporary Philosophers series (Biblioteka Współczesnych Filozofów) was summarized, and the situation of philosophical studies in Poland was discussed. Moreover, the Chairwoman of the Committee reminded about the elections to the KNF for the next term and about the related dates and obligations.


The 12th Polish Philosophical Congress in the 100th anniversary

The 12th Polish Philosophical Congress will be held on September 11-16, 2023 at the University of Lodz. On the 100th anniversary of the first meeting, organized in 1923 at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv, philosophers from most scientific centers in Poland will meet and present the results of their research in as many as 23 thematic sections.

A detailed schedule of the congress, including information about the place and time of individual speeches, is available at https://easychair.org/smart-program/12PZF/

The congress will be held in the building of the Faculty of Philology of the University of Lodz at ul. Pomorska 171/173. More information about it can be found at: https://www.zjazdfilozoficzny.uni.lodz.pl/

The event is organized by the University of Łódź, the Polish Philosophical Society and the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences.


The Committee stands in solidarity with the Scientific Council of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences regarding prof. Engelking

The Committee on Philosophical Sciences (KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences adopted a resolution on May 8, 2023 in which it “stands in solidarity with the resolution of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences” regarding the reaction of some Polish authorities, including the Minister of Education and Science, to Prof. Barbara Engelking’s utterances in media concerning Polish-Jewish relationships during the II World War.

“We consider the reaction of Minister Przemysław Czarnek as threatening the freedom and independence of scientific research in Poland, and the threat of reducing funding for the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences as repression. We express our solidarity with the employees of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and in particular with Professor Barbara Engelking” – we read in the resolution of the KNF, which was supported by 16 out of 25 voting members of the Committee.


Appeal of the Committee to the Ministry of Education and Science regarding a scholarship for young scientists

The Presidium of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences (KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences asked the Minister of Education and Science to correct the guidelines for evaluating applications for scholarships for outstanding young scientists. In a letter of April 19, 2023, the KNF Presidium appealed for the removal of the “Additional points” category from the guidelines.

According to the authors of the letter, these points are “awarded in a manner which is not sufficiently transparent.” “Even with great diligence by experts, it is difficult to avoid accusations that the guidelines in this point are interpreted in a too subjective way, which contradicts the basic principle of the guidelines, namely ‘The Team’s experts in their assessment are guided by objectivity and transparency, avoiding discretion'” – we read in the letter of the Presidium of the Committee.

The letter also noted that “the guidelines do not imply that if applicants do not get such additional points, it excludes them from receiving a scholarship.” “As the name of this criterion suggests, additional points can be awarded only in certain strictly defined situations, but they are not the core of the assessment of the scientific achievements of young scientists” – the authors of the letter argue, pointing to further misunderstandings related to the use of the aforementioned category.

At the same time, the KNF Presidium presented its own proposal that will allow for the effective correction of the score when a candidate for a scholarship submits many publications, which, however, are not sufficiently relevant to the represented discipline. “A better solution seems to be substantive justification for not including full scores for publications whose contribution to the development of the discipline seems insignificant. Such guidelines were adopted, for example, in the 16th competition for scholarships for young outstanding scientists, allowing experts to assess ‘the importance of a scientific article for the development of a scientific discipline related to conducted scientific activity,’ which allows for a much more precise and transparent assessment of scientific achievements” – indicate the authors of the letter.

The letter of the KNF Presidium is available in Polish here.


“Philosophical Troubles” by Saul Kripke in Polish: now on sale

“Philosophical Troubles” by Saul Kripke has just been published in Polish. The volume “Kłopoty Filozoficzne”, which includes 13 essays from the last 50 years, is now on sale in a famous series “Library of Contemporary Philosophers” (Biblioteka Współczesnych Filozofów).

Among the texts included in the volume are such articles as: Identity and Necessity (1975), Outline of a Theory of Truth (1975), Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference (1977), and A Puzzle about Belief (1979). Also included are previously texts which has not been published in Polish before: On Two Paradoxes of Knowledge, Vacuous Names and Fictional Entities, Nozick on Knowledge, First Person, Unrestricted Exportation and Some Morals for the Philosophy of Language, and A Puzzle about Time and Thought.

The texts were translated by: Tadeusz Szubka, Paweł Garbacz, Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska, Jakub Rudnicki. The book was published at the beginning of 2023 by Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN in the BWF series, continued as part of a project conducted by the KNF PAN together with the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw, headed by a member of the KNF, prof. Krzysztof Wójtowicz from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw.


Dr. Marek Pokropski is the laureate of the Kotarbiński scientific award

Dr. Marek Pokropski received the scientific award of the Polish Academy of Sciences in the field of philosophy named after Tadeusz Kotarbiński. He was awarded for the book Mechanisms and Consciousness: Integrating Phenomenology with Cognitive Science.

Awards in several fields were awarded at the plenary session on November 24, 2022 by the Faculty I on Humanities and Social Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The book by Dr. Pokropski was submitted as a candidature by the Committee on Philosophical Sciences (KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In the justification for this candidature, prof. Marcin Miłkowski, a vice-president of the KNF and at the same time a chairman of the Philosophy Research and Dissemination Commission of the KNF, stated that this monograph is “the first work in the world combining a neo-mechanistic approach to explaining the phenomena of consciousness with phenomenological reflection.”

“A result of Dr. Pokropski’s analysis is a claim that phenomenology can provide significant limitations that should be taken into account in the causal modeling of mental phenomena, i.e. phenomenologically analyzed conscious experiences. (…) He bases his theses on the so-called naturalized phenomenology, which departs from classical phenomenology – distinguished by the author very clearly from the usual method of introspective study of mental phenomena” – we read in the justification. Prof. Miłkowski concluded that this work “may contribute to taking into account the rich phenomenological tradition with contemporary research on consciousness in neuroscience and cognitive psychology.”

Information about the monograph is available on the publisher’s website (Routledge): https://www.routledge.com/Mechanisms-and-Consciousness-Integrating-Phenomenology-with-Cognitive-Science/Pokrzywski/p/book/9780367465254

A review of the award-winning book has also recently been published on the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews website: https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/mechanisms-and-consciousness-integrating-phenomenology-with-cognitive-science/

Dr. Marek Pokropski is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw. He works at the Department of the History of Modern Philosophy. He specializes in phenomenology, philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science.


The Committee discussed the evaluation

The evaluation of scientific activity in the discipline “philosophy” for the years 2017-2021 was discussed by the members of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences at the plenary session on November 18, 2022.

Members of the KNF pointed out serious problems related to the conducted evaluation. They drew attention to some wrong rules underlying it. Such rules resulted, among others, in excessively high threshold for obtaining the A+ category in criterion 1 (concerning publications), which caused that no institution obtained this category in the discipline “philosophy,” and serious difficulties in obtaining a category higher than B in criterion 2 (in connection with grants). It was also mentioned that these rules made it difficult for the team responsible for evaluating to include publications and grants in the discipline “philosophy” and resulted in many of them being rejected at the stage of formal evaluation. Attention was also drawn to serious discrepancies as to the interpretation of individual criteria, which have not been finally resolved.

A large part of the discussion took up the topic of journal scoring and its criteria. Members of the Committee agreed that during the given period for which the evaluation is carried out, this score should not be changed. Sudden retrospective changes just towards the end of the evaluation period were identified as one of the more important evaluation problems.

During the discussion, it was emphasized that reliable conduct of the team responsible for conducting the evaluation in the field of philosophy should be separated from bad evaluation rules.


The ceremony of awarding the honorary professorship of the Jagiellonian University to prof. Jan Woleński

On October 17, 2022, in the Auditorium of the Collegium Novum of the Jagiellonian University, the ceremony of awarding the honorary professorship to prof. Jan Woleński took place.

The oldest university in Poland honored one of the most famous Polish philosophers, a distinguished scholar and lecturer, a long-term employee of the Jagiellonian University, and a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Committee on Philosophical Science of this Academy. Prof. Jan Woleński is the 20th scholar to receive this title.

The initiative came from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University. Among the professor’s achievements, there have been pointed out: pioneering works on Polish analytical philosophy and logic showing its results against the background of world philosophy and the charismatic inspiration of research on this subject in the world, as well as numerous monographs and articles on the philosophy of logic, philosophy of law, epistemology and other philosophical issues.

Below we publish selected pictures from this ceremony, taken by prof. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski.


Prof. Jan Woleński received an honorary professorship from the Jagiellonian University

We are happy to announce that prof. Jan Woleński, one of the most famous Polish philosophers, distinguished scholar and lecturer, as well as a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, was awarded the honorary professorship of the Jagiellonian University.

The official ceremony will take place on October 17, 2022 at 12.00 in the of Collegium Novum Auditorium at the Jagiellonian University.


KNF with concern about the initiative of the President of the Republic of Poland regarding the Copernican Academy

KNF shared the concerns expressed by the chairmen of the committees of Department I of the Polish Academy of Sciences related to the submission by the President of the Republic of Poland to the Sejm of the draft act on the Copernican Academy.

On March 25, 2022, the Committee endorsed the chairmen’s position, which noted that “it is not the right time to undertake such initiatives in the shadow of the tragedy of war, without consulting the community.”

The supported position also recalled that “the academic community, gathered in the Committees of the Polish Academy of Sciences, has already opposed opposed this initiative in April 2021, perceiving it as a threat to the independence of Polish science and the continued existence of the Polish Academy of Sciences.” “We fully maintain this position. We also share the voice of the Warsaw Scientific Society expressed in the resolution of March 16, 2002 and we call for the withdrawal from further proceedings on this Act and the withdrawal of the project from the Sejm” – wrote the chairmen of the committees of Division I.


The Committee condemns Russia’s aggression and supports a sovereign Ukraine

The Committee of Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in its resolution of February 25, 2022, supported the statement of the academic community of February 24, 2022 in connection with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The statement condemned the attack on our neighbor and the use of violence against Ukraine. Full solidarity with the entire Ukrainian nation and support for Ukraine as a sovereign state were also expressed. Assistance was also declared and the authorities of the Ministry of Education and Science were asked to support Ukrainian scientists, doctoral students and students.

The statement was signed by the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, as well as representatives of other organizations representing scientists, doctoral students and students.


The Committee supported the statement on changes to the Education Law

The Committee on Philosophical Sciences (KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences supported the statement of the Committee of Pedagogical Sciences (KNPed) of the Polish Academy of Sciences of January 16, 2022 on the act amending the Education Law (Prawo oświatowe) and other acts adopted by the Lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament on January 13, 2022.

KNPed addressed this statement to the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda. The Committee asked the President of the Republic of Poland not to sign this act and to start talks with the community about the shape of the education system. The Committee assures that it is ready to continue the dialogue and cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science. The full text of the statement is available on the Committee’s website: https://knped.pan.pl/

The resolution on the support of this position was adopted by the KNF on January 25, 2022.


The Committee supported the appeal in defense of the “Memorial” Association

The Committee of Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences supported the appeal in defense of the Association “Memorial” presented by the Committee of Historical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences in the resolution of January 20, 2022.

The appeal contains a protest against the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ordering the liquidation of the International Association of Historical, Educational, Charitable and Defense of Human Rights “Memorial” and a call to discontinue “further steps aimed at destroying” its achievements, positive consideration of the appeal and allowing “further unhindered action”. In its resolution, KNH emphasizes the great importance of the association and assures its founders, employees and volunteers of solidarity and gratitude. The Committee also asks you to contribute to the defense of this organization.

The KNF’s support was expressed in the unanimously adopted resolution on January 25, 2022.


The Committee supported the opinion of the Committee on Demographic Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences

The Committee on Philosophical Sciences (KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences supported the opinion of the Presidium of the Committee on Demographic Sciences (KND) of the Polish Academy of Sciences on the parliamentary draft act on the Polish Institute of Family and Demography. The KNF adopted a resolution on this matter on December 7, 2021.

The aforementioned draft was prepared by a group of Members of Parliament without conducting public consultations, “without a diagnosis of how the current institutions supporting the shaping and implementation of population policy work by providing evidence and the appropriate quality of knowledge” and “without findings on the effects of the proposed regulations on their functioning”. Furthermore, as the representatives of the KND further note, “the project of establishing the Polish Institute of Family and Demography as a new institution located outside the already existing scientific structures raises serious substantive and financial concerns”.

In addition to general comments, the KND Presidium also formulated 9 specific reservations and recommendations aimed at “increasing the rank of scientific population research”. The full text of the opinion is available on the KND website at: http://knd.pan.pl/index.php?lang=en


Meeting with the Editors-in-Chief on the scoring of journals

On October 1, 2021, the Committee on Philosophical Sciences (Komitet Nauk Filozoficznych, KNF) of the Polish Academy of Sciences organized a meeting with the Editors-in-Chief of philosophical scientific journals.

Its purpose was to share experiences and formulate possible proposals related to journal scoring. At the end of the meeting, a significant number of editors decided that the proposal in this regard should be formulated by the KNF.

The meeting was prompted by the statement on September 1 this year, uttered by the Minister of Education and Science prof. Przemysław Czarnek, who announced that the score would be raised. In a radio broadcast, Minister Czarnek said then: “All editors of scientific journals who would like to raise points of their scientific journals, I invite you to submit motivated and justified applications to the ministry, because at the end of this month and at the turn of October there will be another campaign to raise points of Polish journals”. Therefore, at the September plenary session, members of the Committee decided that it would be good to discuss the matter among the editors of philosophical magazines.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 25 scientific journals. They exchanged opinions both on the evaluation criteria (qualitative and quantitative) and the formula in which to submit proposals to MEiN in this regard. They indicated numerous advantages and disadvantages of various solutions. As part of the voice supported by a large part of the gathered, that such a proposal should be presented by the KNF, there was also an appeal for the Committee to indicate which journals should be scored higher and to submit such a request to the ministry. The chairman of the KNF undertook to present this voice to the KNF Presidium.

The Presidium decided that the KNF was not able to responsibly assess the journals in terms of quality in an accelerated procedure and prepare a reliable proposal to raise the scores of journals that deserve it. The Presidium indicated that there was too much risk that the result of such a hastily action might not be reliable, and that such a proposal could further increase the tensions in the academic community related to the recent changes in the scoring.

However, in line with the main conclusion of the meeting, the Committee will develop criteria for expert evaluation of journals that could be used in the future. Such criteria will include both formal elements (such as indexing in databases or assigning DOI identifiers) and substantive aspects (e.g. scientific quality of articles, impact of articles on the discipline).


A statement on the situation at the Pedagogical University of Cracow

The Committee discussed the situation at the Pedagogical University of Cracow on June 18, 2021. The Committee adopted a statement in which serious concern connected with dismissal of professors was expressed.


Joint resolution on the National Copernican Program

The Scientific and Problem Committees operating at Department I – Humanities and Social Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences issued a joint resolution concerning the idea of the so-called National Copernican Program (NPK).

The Committees pointed out the threat that the announcement of the establishment of such a body poses to the independence of Polish science and the continued existence of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The resolution was published on April 16, 2021 on the PAN website.


Opposition to the procedure for introducing changes to the list of scientific journals and peer-reviewed conference materials

The Committee on Philosophical Sciences strongly opposes the procedure of introducing changes to the list of scientific journals and peer-reviewed conference materials by the Minister of Education and Science on February 9, 2021.

The list contains changes that are assessed by the Polish academic community, including The Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, as arbitrary and unlawful. In the opinioin of The Committee of Philosophical Sciences, due to the requirement of transparent shaping of a stable scientific policy and in light of the applicable law, the list should be changed only as a result of the applicable procedures, and the grounds for changes should be made public. The changes introduced in the list are assessed by the Committee not only as illegal, but also as deeply unfair, as they undermine the principles of objective evaluation in science. They also undermine confidence in the stability and objectivity of the research evaluation system, and threaten the autonomy of research.

It should be noted that journals of particular importance for culture, society and economy should be evaluated not by changing the scores of scientific journals, but by developing appropriate impact indicators, indicating their importance in the evaluation of scientific units. This also applies to journals of a journalistic nature that have been wrongly included in the list as philosophical journals, even though they do not have the nature of peer-reviewed scientific publications at all. The Committee is concerned about the lack of a proper response to other voices of protest regarding the shape of the published list by the ministry.