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2005 | 26 | 115-133

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Wincenty Lutoslawski's National Idea: Derivative or an Advancement of a Romantic Commonwealth of Nations?


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Wincenty Lutoslawski, the Polish philosopher of the turn of the 19th century, friend of Roman Dmowski and Zygmunt Balicki, as well as a member of the National League, was associated by many of his contemporaries with the National-Democratic option. Yet even a cursory analysis of Lutoslawski's academic writings indicates his Romantic provenience and fascination with Romantic national thought. The article attempts to grasp both major similarities and differences between his approach and the reflection of his intellectual predecessors. The authoress suggests that Lutoslawski's approach is not just imitative, but constitutes an attempt (perhaps the last one) to advance a Romantic idea of the commonwealth of nations. Lutoslawski differs from the Romantics in his approach to definitions of the nation. To understand the nation in political categories is, for him, a serious mistake. The nation-state, being merely a form of political creation, should not be confused with the nation. His definition of the nation relates to a cultural model of Polish national reflection in which the most crucial role is played by national consciousness. In a tradition lasting many centuries, the supreme mission of the Polish nation has been in attracting its neighbors and establishing close ties with Poland by them. This mission should be continued in the future in order to transform peoples into 'true' nations. The basic principle for such ties was a guarantee of equality for all and the freedom to maintain the language and customs of individual tribes. Lutoslawski believes that national philosophy is a universal phenomenon and should not be confined to the one nation which is developing it. This line of thought should enable each nation to contribute to the development of universal philosophy and also the progress of all humanity. Lutoslawski's life mission was to promote the immense Polish contribution to the heritage of the thought of man.






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  • J. Nowak, Instytut Slawistyki PAN, Zaklad Badan Narodowosciowych, ul. Stary Rynek 78/79, 61-772 Poznan, Poland


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