CULTURAL SCIENCES ARE FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCES. INTERVIEW WITH PROF. ANDRZEJ SZAHAJ
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Prof. Andrzej Szahaj is one of the most outstanding Polish philosophers of culture and politics. Interviewed by Michał Rydlewski he tells about his scholarly career, with special emphasis on how his thought has been influenced by the Poznan school of cultural sciences created by Jerzy Kmita. It was from him that Szahaj learnt to consider cultural sciences as fundamental sciences. Following in his Master's footsteps Andrzej Szahaj promotes interdisciplinary studies. He points out the destructive role of specialization which makes creative approach to the humanities impossible. An orientation clearly noticeable in the work of Andrzej Szahaj is cultural constructivism. He is interested in the effectivenes of the mutation/cultural innovation method, in the problems of cultural change, in the relationship betwen the conscious and the unconscious (with reference to knowledge about one's own culture), and much more. In the discussion on cultural constructivism raising the question of sociobiology was inevitable. Sociobiology seems trendy in a sense nowadays. Andrzej Szahaj finds this orientation pointless as it aims at demonstrating fiction of cultural diversity, which means that we are slaves of our genes. Th next questions concern anthropological problems raised in the book by Szahaj 'E pluribus unum?' The most important of them is the problem of Otherness, the cult of Otherness (which we largely owe to anthropologists). This also means that we should have a less 'romantic' view of our present reality. Not all forms of Otherness can and should be axiologically reconciled with values of our culture. Andrzej Szahaj calls for more moderation in repudiating our own culture and keeping a kind of unity among diversity. Another problem brought up in the interview concerns European identity. It is true, it seems to become less and less noticeable, yet its features become apparent once we go beyond the 'orbis interior'. At the end of the interview counter arguments are discussed in the polemics with the Baudrillardian concept of implosion of power and society and degeneration of politics. Andrzej Szahaj voices the view that neither the implosion of society nor degeneration of politics are fast and irreversible. Processes of 'de-massing of the masses' are at work here connected with lack of approval for the 'status quo'.
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