Editorial. Over-elaborated and Forgotten Topics in Contemporary Social Philosophy. In Memoriam of Marek J. Siemek
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This Dialogue and Universalism issue intends to honour and commemorate the outstanding Polish philosopher Professor Marek J. Siemek on the fifth anni-versary of his death; he passed away in 2011. Marek J. Siemek was highly re-spected for his philosophical ideas, extensive and novel investigations into German philosophy and translational and editorial work. He was a spectacular protagonist of intensifying dialogue between philosophers from different coun-tries, and of breaking with the tendency to narrow philosophy down to its purely intellectual, internal quests. In line with a minority of contemporary philoso-phers Marek J. Siemek regarded philosophy as one of the domains which de-signed the human world apart from its purely intellectual quest. He was an intel-lectualist who tended to break barriers between Western and Eastern Europe, and sought the means with which to do it in philosophy. Marek J. Siemek’s intellectual bravery, his defence of leftist ideals, his resilience and human digni-ty manifested themselves especially after Poland’s political transformation in 1989. In 2006 Marek J. Siemek received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bonn (The German name is: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) for his extraordinary and creative mediation between Polish and German philosophy. It was the first honorary doctorate awarded to a Polish philosopher by a German state university. This Dialogue and Universalism issue is not a typical festschrift. Everybody who knew Professor Siemek is convinced that he would not want to be cele-brated or worshipped. We believe that what would have made him really happy would have been an unhampered intellectual debate around issues which lay his research domain, and precisely this belief is the underlying idea of the present issue. It is thematically focused on contemporary social philosophy, which was one of Siemek’s main research fields throughout his academic life. In line with the specificity of his philosophical interests and commitments, we decid-ed on the theme OVER-ELABORATED AND FORGOTTEN TOPICS IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY. The contributors include Marek Siemek friends and students, as well as scholars influenced by his ideas or impressed by his penetrating philosophising. They investigate con-temporary social philosophy’s most fashionable conceptions and problems, as well as those which, though seemingly important, are almost forgotten, e.g. Marxism and Marxist interpretations of social problems, especially in so-called post-communist countries. I would like to mention two papers in this group: the extremely actual study on the foundation of European unity by Ludger Kühnhardt, and Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik’s paper on the essence and today’s importance of Karl Marx’s Critique of Political Economy. Also in this issue are studies on Marek Siemek’s philosophical conceptions and ideas. Last but not least, I would like to mention three papers which touch the tran-scendental sphere of human life and fundamental human existential emotions and creations. The contribution by Mihály Vajda is an impressive account of his and Marek Siemek’s friendship, and the special atmosphere in which they de-bated and developed philosophical ideas. In this dialogue they rarely attained consensus, but they continued it and considered it valuable despite their differ-ences. First and foremost, however, the paper addresses the crisis of contempo-rary humanity. Barbara Smitmans-Vajda’s paper reveals some rarely recognised reasons behind the tragic fate of refugees—who besides losing their prior exist-ence also lose their identity and experience total loneliness and estrangement. This paper, so very actual today, recounts the problems accompanying migra-tion and refuge on the example of the fates of Ernst Bloch and Stefan Zweig in the first half of the 20th century. Shoshana Ronnen’s paper is an insightful study of the concept of god in Jewish thought. This essay about god indirectly reveals significant truths about man, who—in the atheist perspective shared by Marek J. Siemek—is the creator of god. I would like to express our deep gratitude to Halina Walentowicz, Katarzyna Bielińska and Adam Romaniuk for their valuable help in preparing this issue.
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