The Contexts of Early Polish Positivisms, 1840s–1900s

  • Jan Surman


This chapter reconstructs the conditions under which Polish-language scholars across the Russian, Austrian, and Prussian empires appropriated positivist thought. It devotes special attention to the nodes between scholarship, literature, religion, and politics. Nineteenth-century social thought in the Polish language developed a strong bent toward positivist philosophy. This tendency is usually explained by the failure of the January Uprising of 1863–1864 and by the demise of Romantic philosophy which was replaced by less speculative, more inductive, approaches. Between the 1860s and 1880s Polish-language positivism advanced into a full-fledged and all-encompassing social philosophy, which also included “literary positivism” (elsewhere called naturalism/realism) and Catholic positivism. The geographical scope of the reception of positivist philosophy also changed: while in the1860s Habsburg Galicia was its center, later on Warsaw and Poznań grew to be more important.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Surman
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies University of ErfurtErfurtGermany

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