Kołakowski Seminar

Kołakowski Seminar

Thursday, 19 November 2015 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
Warsaw University, Poland
Prof. Johannes Zachhuber (Trinity College, Oxford University)
POMP Event

The three institutions: Warsaw University, Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and Programme on Modern Poland (St Antony's College) have decided to organize a yearly seminar commemorating the thought of Leszek Kołakowski. The first seminar will take place at Warsaw University, Chair of History of Ideas. This seminar will consist of two parts. The first part will be a debate and discussion between distinguished scholars devoted to Leszek Kołakowski's philosophy: prof. Aziz Al-Azmeh (Central European University), prof. John Dunn (University of Cambridge), dr Taras Dobko ( Ukrainian Catholic University), prof. Steven Lukes (New York University), prof. Johannes Zachhuber (University of Oxford), prof. Agata Bielik-Robson (University of Nottingham, Polish Academy of Sciences), dr hab. prof. UP Paweł Kłoczowski (The Pedagogical University of Kraków), prof. Marcin Król (University of Warsaw). This will be a closed session between 10:30 am and 4.00 pm. 

The discussion will be based around the following quote from  Leszek Kołakowski's book:

“Religion is man's way of accepting life as an inevitable defeat. That it is not an inevitable defeat is a claim that cannot be defended in good faith. One can, of course, disperse one's life over the contingencies of every day, but even then it is only a ceaseless and desperate desire to live, and finally a regret that one has not lived. One can accept life, and accept it, at the same time, as a defeat only if one accepts that there is a sense beyond that which is inherent in human history -- if, in other words, one accepts the order of the sacred. A hypothetical world from which the sacred had been swept away would admit of only two possibilities: vain fantasy that recognizes itself as such, or immediate satisfaction which exhausts itself. It would leave only the choice proposed by Baudelaire, between lovers of prostitutes and lovers of clouds: those who know only the satisfactions of the moment and are therefore contemptible, and those who lose themselves in otiose imaginings , and are therefore contemptible. Everything is contemptible, and there is no more to be said. The conscience liberated from the sacred knows this, even if it conceals it from itself.”

The second part is the public lecture: "The Future of Secularisation in the West" given by prof. Johannes Zachhuber (Oxford University). 

Time: 6.00pm-7.30pm

Place: Tyszkiewicz Palace, Ballroom, Warsaw University, Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, 32

More information:



Contact person in Warsaw:

Agnieszka Rosner
Mobile: 0048 608 610 442

Email: rosner.agnieszka@gmail.com