Academic Year 2001-2002
Leszek Kolakowski, a recipient of the MacArthur Prize, is one of the world’s most admired living philosophers and the author of more than 30 books, including Modernity on Endless Trial (1990), The Presence of Myth (1989) and Freedom, Fame, Lying, and Betrayal (1999). Because he is also a poet and a playwright, his work is of great interest to students and faculty in literature as well as philosophy, religion and government.
Kolakowski rose to prominence in the 1950s and ’60s at the University of Warsaw as a political activist and theorist, and wrote his defining three-volume work, Main Currents of Marxism (1978), while a visiting professor at Berkeley in the ’70s. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Academi Universelle des Cultures, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the International Institute of Philosophy. His two talks at the Athenaeum during the Spring semester were titled “On Natural Law” and “On the Future of Truth.” In addition to these lectures, Kolakowski taught the seminar “Science and Faith in Modern Literature” with associate professor of literature, Robert Faggen.