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Magdalena SAGANIAK – Polish Universities Today

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The author outlines the role of tertiary education against the background of the postmodern democratic society. The modern civic society is described as torn by political and religious controversies, thus losing its capability of self-governance as well as its self-awareness. According to the author, the processes manifested by these phenomena are related to the expansion of the conception of freedom common in the democratic systems prevailing in the developed European capitalist societies of the turn of the twentieth century. The conception of freedom in question is termed by the author as ‘freedom without responsibility.’ The author advances the thesis that such a concept of freedom, paired with relativism, results in the decline of the social vision of the world as a place shared by all human beings. Thus human free actions are no longer perceived as identifiable, controllable or correctible, which in turn contributes to the decline of common social goals as well as to the destruction of social bonds. A return to the proper concept of freedom would involve the effort of reconstructing the self-knowledge of the contemporary society. For this purpose though an honest and free research in the humanities is indispensable, since the humanities may create the ‘room’ for such a conceptual reconstruction. The humanities need to be pursued in the universities, which carry the duty of interpreting the social history of the humanity, providing the vision of its past and pointing to the potential projects of its future.

The concluding part of the article is focused on the activity of the Polish Humanities Crisis Committee, of which the author is a member. The Committee is an organization whose mission goes beyond the political and religious differences exhibited by the Poles, and which focuses on the correct diagnosis of the present moment of the social history, on recovering the proper rank of the universities and on engaging them in the process of the renewal of the civic society.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: freedom, responsibility, human actions, awareness, self-governance, civic society, democracy, tradition, history, social bonds, hermeneutics, education, university, the humanities, Poland (Polish identity), Polish Humanities Crisis Committee

Contact: Katedra Teorii Literatury, Instytut Filologii Polskiej, Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych,
Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego, ul. Dewajtis 5, 01-815 Warsaw, Poland

E-mail: m.saganiak@uksw.edu.pl

Pliki do pobrania:

» 109_Saganiak.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887