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'The God that failed' Leszek Kolakowski: humanist thinker and critic of Marxism

Whilst Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw, Kolakowski wrote Positivist Philosophy from Hume to the Vienna Circle (1966), and a mammoth study of dissenting C17th Christians. Exiled in 1968 (and taken in as a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford), he rejected Marxist economic determinism in Towards a Marxist Humanism (1970), and more comprehensively in his major work, The main currents of Marxism (1978), an acclaimed three volume survey and critique of Marx and later Marxist thought. The work is special because the author was writing from a Communist state resident intellectual background, and yet achieves a detachment borne of a profound and commanding knowledge of the history of philosophical speculation. Kolakowski then turned increasingly to issues of religion and the grounds for a non-dogmatic, but reasoned case for belief. His last work, Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? (2007), is a collection of gently illuminating essays on historical philosophers.
This talk will sample these works in an attempt to convey his moral humanism, which is a distinguishing mark of all his writings.

Chris Bratcher has given talks to SPES on philosophical themes, including history of Ethics, for many years. He is a past Treasurer of the Society, and is a holding Trustee.


Mr Chris Bratcher | talks


Date and Time:

18 April 2010 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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