2006 | 15 | 1(57) | 99-120
Article title

Atheism of Tadeusz Kotarbinski

Title variants
Languages of publication
The author was in a select group of persons who were on close terms with Tadeusz Kotarbinski, and he has agreed now to share his memories of those contacts. Some of them concerned Kotarbinski's attitude to religion. He was an atheist but also a man of refined taste and warm feelings. This mix of attitudes could occasionally lead to a misunderstanding of his position, or even cause a surprise in his wife. The author recalls how the couple reacted to a wooden sculpture of sorrowful Christ displayed in his house. Mrs Kotarbinski was alarmed, Tadeusz Kotarbinski found the statue enchanting. It is possible, argues the author, that Kotarbinski reacted not only to the artistic value of the piece, but also expressed his more general attitude to religion. He thought that religion was misleading but enchanting, and he did not rule out that religion could be purified of its basic inaccuracies. 'The doctrine must be abandoned, he said, or it has to be refined by abandoning its literal interpretation'. He did not offer, however, any clue as to what the better interpretation should look like. Partly, perhaps, because he tended to believe that philosophical arguments for or against religion did not matter to the general public. Religion was popular, he thought, due to intellectual and emotional inertia, and it was part of the 'postrural' (his term) tradition that dominated Poland after the decades of mass migration from the country to town. It does not seem that these opinions have been made obsolete by the course of time.
  • J. Pelc, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Filozofii, Zaklad Logiki, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3, 00-041 Warszawa, Poland
Document Type
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.