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Abstract

The works of Bogusław Wolniewicz contain a philosophical system. It needs to be extracted and revealed through a recomposition of his output which comprises close to 600 individual publications and auditions. It is a system of Pythagorean-Manichean kind, or, to put it differently, Leibnizian-Augustinian kind. The Professor described his philosophy as a rational ‘tychism’. It claims that the world and man are governed by chance (especially human nature in which an element of evil has some influence) and that mind, even though it uses logic to reflect the world, is barely an irrelevant addition in the vast universe. Such a stance is unusual in modern thought, though not in the history of thinking. It is in clear opposition to the scientifically bended rationalism and irrationalism that dominate contemporary thought. The logical coherency and extensiveness of Wolniewicz’s concerns constitute the essence of his philosophical system, though it goes largely unnoticed, due to the meaninglessness of several of his claims to his opponents. At its foundation lies the metaphysics of situations developed by L. Wittgenstein but further elaborated by Wolniewicz. The contribution by Wolniewicz is not his greatest accomplishment, however. The metaphysics of situations is his organon – merely a thinking tool – used to extract the most crucial and deeply hidden truths about the world. Due to these circumstances and the modern achievements in logic when it is practiced in Wolniewicz’s style, new discoveries are made that were not possible in the past. For example, it is possible to incorporate both Christian axiology and anthropology with Marx’s sociology in one system. It evocates widespread amazement but also fierce resistance from conservative readers, but their protests are ungrounded. ‘Truth always agrees with truth’ – said Wolniewicz. When it comes to Wolniewicz’s system, its coherence counts most, and it is best manifested in the objectivistic and absolutistic philosophy of values as well as pessimistic philosophy of the human condition (both being of Christian provenance). One can depict Wolniewicz’s system as a cathedral with numerous towers, persistently built over 70 years of his active academic life. The main towers are: ontological-theological, anthropological and axiological (of practical philosophy, describing human duties). Standing shoulder to shoulder with them are smaller turrets corresponding to such subfields as epistemology, philosophy of culture, philosophy of religion, esthetics etc. The metaphysical aspect of Wolniewicz’s philosophy is blended from specific classic theorems and original claims expressed in synthetic a priori propositions. They are supported by the logical structure of language, and language itself is supported by the structure of human genotype (DNA). Technically one can reach the most general truths about the world by continuous thinking, but the ability to use that skill is a privilege reserved for exceptional geniuses.
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Abstract

The main focus of this tutorial/review is on presenting Prospect Theory in the context of the still ongoing debate between the behavioral (mainly descriptive) and the classical (mainly normative) approach in decision theory under risk and uncertainty. The goal is to discuss Prospect Theory vs. Expected Utility in a comparative way. We discuss: a) which assumptions (implicit and explicit) of the classical theory are being questioned in Prospect Theory; b) how does the theory incorporate robust experimental evidence, striving, at the same time, to find the right balance between the basic rationality postulates of Expected Utility (e.g. monotonicity wrt. First-Order Stochastic Dominance), psychological plausibility and mathematical elegance; c) how are risk attitudes modeled in the theory. In particular we discuss prospect stochastic dominance and the three-pillar structure of modeling risk attitudes in Prospect Theory involving: the non-additive decision weights with lower and upper subadditivity and their relationship to the notions of pessimism and optimism, as well as preferences towards consequences separated into preferences within and across the domains of gains and losses (corresponding to basic utility and loss aversion), d) example applications of Prospect Theory.
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Abstract

Bogusław Wolniewicz presented his axiological system in four volumes of Filozofia i wartości (“Philosophy and Values”: 1993, 1998, 2003, 2016). For Wolniewicz, just as for his mentor Henryk Elzenberg, axiology is openly assertive and encompasses a painful confrontation of opposite moral beliefs. Wolniewicz’s vision of the reality is gloom, bitter, dramatic and deeply pessimistic. In history he detects unwelcome contributions of demonic powers (Manichaeism), he also believes that human moral character is genetically given and immutable (determinism), that some people are deprived of conscience (dualism), and that the tendency toward evil cannot be reformed (non-meliorism), human reason is not sufficient for a morally good action (voluntarism), while the so-called free will is no more than a manifestation of instincts (irrationalism). Everyone follows their pleasure (hedonism), but not everyone seeks pleasure in the same actions. In particular, some people take pleasure in cruel and destructive behaviour (demonism), while some others mind their own business (utilitarianism), and rare are those who devote themselves to higher values (perfectionism). Religion is a human invention and it emerges as a natural phenomenon in reaction to the fact of mortality. The institution of the Church should nevertheless be honored even by nonbelievers because it supports conservative values. In contemporary Western civilization a crisis can be observed between the conservative part of society (‘right-handed orientation’) and the liberal one (‘left-handed orientation’). Hateful emotions appear on both sides and are dangerous to Western unity. Conservative orientation is attached to the idea of fate, i.e. irrational power that occasionally turns human life into tragedy (fatalism). Wolniewicz’s vision is close to the theology of St. Augustine (original sin, predestination, radical dualism of good and evil) but without a consolation in hope for immortality.
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Abstract

The normative system of Bogusław Wolniewicz (1927–2017) can be subsumed under three categories: (1) pessimism (fatalism, or ‘tychism’ in Wolniewicz’s terms), (2) moral determinism (‘non-meliorism’), (3) conservatism (‘right-hand orientation’). Ad (1) Wolniewicz was pessimistic in two ways: he believed human life to be tragic (fatalism) and was also convinced that most people are guided by bad instincts (dualism). Ad (2) Wolniewicz believed that moral character was biologically determined and immutable. But his strong position on this subject ignores the classical view of Aristotle or the Stoics for whom moral character (or conscience) was acquired by habit and shaped deliberately. Ad (3) I suggest that a good historical example of conservative tendency was Critias of Athens. His famous fragment of the Sisyphus contains the idea of a supremacy of laws over human passions, and reduces religion to a supportive role with respect to ethics and politics. Wolniewicz’s dualism of right-hand and left-hand orientation encourages me to distinguish between a right-wing and a left-wing perception of value. For a leftist, value is intensity of a chosen feature (progressive value), whereas for a rightist, value is an area of freedom between inacceptable extremities (modular value). On these premises I propose a simple model of axiological conflict between left-wing and right-wing citizens.
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