Positivism is an epoch and a cultural phenomenon vastly important to understand the socio-cultural modernity and the origin of Polish artistic modernism. Positivist thinking is involved into Enlightenment dialectics - a socio-psychological mechanism described by M. Horkheimer and Th. W. Adorno in their 'Dialectics of Enlightenment' (Dialektik der Aufklärung, 1947). This mechanism, penetrating the modern mentality, leads to the formation of artistic modernism in Europe. The dialectics of Polish positivism (variously treated by Teodor Jeske-Choinski, Zygmunt Szweykowski, and Henryk Markiewicz), analogous to dialectics of Enlightenment, leads to instrumental treatment of reason, reification of a man, and wasting of all sense. Thus, modernism constitute different artistic and ideological reactions to the crisis of positivist rationalism, such as decadence, worship of art, symbolism, utopia, interest in primitive cultures, nationalism, conservatism. The reactions in question appear also in writing and in the thought of the representatives of Polish positivism.