Józef Kalasanty Szaniawski 1764-1843

He was born in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. In the last years of the First Polish Republic, he was associated with Polish Jacobins. After the 1794 uprising had collapsed, he emigrated to Paris where he belonged to the Polish Deputation, a left-wing organization whose goals included, among others, provoking the next uprising and granting land to peasants. However, subsequently he underwent a considerable ideological evolution, abandoning the idea of independence and preaching absolute loyalty to the partitioning powers. He also rejected his previous leftist slogans and became a staunch conservative. Having returned to Warsaw, which remained under Prussian rule at the time, he began his official career, which he continued in the Duchy of Warsaw and subsequently in the Kingdom of Poland, including as a general public prosecutor and member of the Supreme Court. He was the Chair of the Society for Elementary Books. After the fall of the November Uprising, he headed the Office of Censorship as a loyal tsarist official. His service in the tsarist administration combined with his eagerness made him a highly unpopular figure, and this was further exacerbated by his ultra-conservative views. He died on 16 May 1843 in Lviv. In his philosophical work, he tried to combine the themes present in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant with the ideas contained in the metaphysics of F. W. Schelling. He opposed rationalistic and utilitarian Enlightenment ideas, which were popular in contemporary literature, including in the Polish language. He wrote, inter alia, Co to jest filozofia [“What is philosophy?”] (1802), O znamienitszych systemach moralnych starożytności [“On important ancient moral systems”] (1803) and Rady przyjacielskie młodemu czcicielowi nauk i filozofii [“Friendly advice to young worshippers of sciences and philosophy”] (1805), O naturze i przeznaczeniu urzędowań w społeczności [“On the nature and function of offices in society”] (1808).


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