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On Natural Law

Are concepts of natural justice and natural law universal? Few people are better equipped to confront such questions than Leszek Kolakowski. Philosopher, historian, theologian, political scientist and literary critic, Kolakowski is one of the most eminent figures in the world of ideas and renowned worldwide for wrestling with philosophical problems with dazzling wit.

This year's Podlich Distinguished Fellow, Professor Kolakowksi began his career at Warsaw University. Having been expelled from his university post by the Polish government in 1968 for political reasons, he became a Visiting Professor at McGill University and at Berkeley before being appointed Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College Oxford. During the 1970s he wrote his monumental, three-volume Main Currents of Marxism (Oxford, 1978). From 1981 to 1994 he was also Professor on the Committee of Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Professor Kolakowski is the author of over thirty books including Religion: If There is No God... On God, the Devil, Sin, and Other Worries of the So-Called Philosophy of Religion (1990), Bergson (1985), Husserl and the Search for Certitude (1975), Metaphysical Horror (1988), The Presence of Myth (1989), God Owes Us Nothing, A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and the Spirit of Jansenism (1995). His many honors include six honorary doctorates, a McArthur Fellowship, the Jefferson Award, and Prix Tocqueville. He will be in residence at Claremont McKenna College until March 30th, and he will give his second lecture, "On the Future of Truth," at the Athenaeum on March 7th.