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Western Civilization and the European Phenomenon


Non-Empirical Foundations of Empirical Sciences

2012. working version, not available yet. Text in working version. Twentieth-century philosophy of science, despite all discrepancies, is characterized by the common thought that statements that do not have empirical status, that is, do not succumb to the falsification procedure, play some role in the creation of scientific theories. Such statements are commonly called metaphysical judgments in the philosophy of science. These non-empirical metaphysical statements are considered to be external to scientific theory (for example, Carnap, Popper), internal, i.e. are the immanent part of a theory (for example, Lakatos) or accepted by agreement of scholarly communities (for example, Kuhn, Kitcher, and Longino). This surprising consensus of so often extremely different theories of science strongly legitimizes Christianity as a possible co-creative element of modern science; file size 360 KB, 41 pages.

Technology and the Economic Growth: Accelerators and Brakes. Theories and History – Europe and China

2018. working version, not available yet. Working version. The discussion of the theories explaining the historical functioning of European and Asian economies (including E.L. Jones, A. Maddison, D.C. North and formalized growth theories). Also a debate why early modern China economy decelerated (per capita); file size 390 KB, 34 pages.

Christendom: The European Phenomenon and Christianity. Idea of New Book and What’s Been Done To Date

2020, [in  English].  The pdf version of the Christianitas subpage, updated in May, 2020. After few years, the research project European Phenomenon and Christianity is advanced enough that the majority of its parts, either ready or in well advanced working versions, could be presented together. I encourage you to read; file size 300 KB, 10 pages.

Role of Church and Christianity in technological changes in medieval Europe

2020. [in Polish]. The synthetic picture of the influence of Church and doctrine, estimation of church and secular sphere participation in the medieval technological progress, an attempt to reconstruct of Church’s policy of building a pro-innovative climate and many other issues; file size 2,4 MB, 95 pages.

Medieval Merchant Ships

2017.  [in Polish]. Book on the evolution of constructions of the European merchant ships from the 1st to the 16th century. A study of the history of technology with elements of economic history. Maritime transport is considered one of the most important tools creating the power of Europe. It integrated remote areas, commercial shipping recorded the largest increase in productivity among all economic fields. It was an important inspirer and creator of technical progress. Ships from Europe were the vehicles disseminating, throughout the world, European cultural patterns, methods of life organization, tools, weapons, plants, religions, political ideas, people and diseases. Bibliography available on request. file size 17 MB, 229 pages.

What speeds up and what hinders technical progress. On historical determinants of innovation

20019. [in Polish]. Extensive commentary to Joel Mokyr’s book “The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress”. Analysis of historical factors that are recognized in the literature as important in stimulating or inhibiting technical progress.  Oxford University Press, 1990. file size 465 KB, 40 pages.

Medieval Agricultural Revolution – Quantitative Analysis

2020. [in Polish]. Text on the origin of resources that enabled Europe to chase great powers of the time (China, India, Islam states). Calculations are presented to show the roots and scale of  the resources acquired thanks to the agrarian growth in IX-XIV centuries; file size 410 KB, 17 pages.

Medieval Watermills and Windmills or Medieval Power Industry

2015. [in Polish]. When we talk about medieval watermills and windmills, we are talking about creating in Europe, the first on such a scale in the world, power industry infrastructure for the needs of the emerging industry. Energy supplied by mills and windmills helped to launch such industries like i.e. textile, clothing, wood, mining, metal, construction, agri-food, paper and tanning industries; file size 1,6 MB, 11 pages.

Western Civilization and Time – Synopsis of the book

2007, 2018. [in Polish].  Western civilization challenges death. It does so with no fanfare, but patiently, persistently, step by step. That phenomenon has been the result of the process of transformation of time into one of our critical values, lasting several hundred years. Time as a value can be seen in the cult of speed, in the cult of youth and the demand to live longer and longer. There are no other priorities that increase their share in GDP just as quickly. In the world, so preoccupied with mundane matters, priorities to act ever faster and to live ever longer, transcend over our everyday secular horizon.

I look for the answer to the question how the growing value of time accelerates the historical course of the West, sets the directions for the development of science, technology and the economy, and at the same time becomes our compulsion (Time as Faster) and goal (Time as being ever longer).

How did this happen? What’s next? This is what this book is about;   file size 250 KB, 9 pages.

Christianity and Church in the Europeization of Europe

2010, 2013. [in Polish]. Working paper (fragment of my new book) dealing with the medieval europeization of Europe. Talk about the role of Christianity and Church in coming of Europe to world dominance must be preceded with the reflection on how Europe as the separate and integrated civilizational unit came into being. And what role the Church played in that process. So, there is a brief discussing of literature of the subject (ranking of 27 authors according to their assessment of the importance of Christianity and the Church) and then there is a description of two stages of integration: V-VIII centuries – religious homogenization, VIII-XIII centuries – cultural homogenization as well as the process of separating the sacred and secular spheres (Gregorian Revolution (XI – XII centuries);  file size 320 KB,  20 pages.

Medieval Roots of Early Modern Science: the Influence of Cultural and Social Milieu On the Emergence of Science, Role of the Church

2010, 2013. [in Polish]. Discussion of Edward Grant’s theory on medieval roots of science and description of external factors, affecting science’s setting, forming its organizational, economic, social and political milieu. Historical, geopolitical, social, organizational, economic and other factors are discussed. Discussion of each factor is combined with showing the role of Church;  file size 420 KB,  37 pages.

Douglass North’s Vision of Historical Development of the West

2013. [in Polish]. The article shows some of the fundamental theorems of New Institutional Economics and how they can be applied to the analysis of the economic history cases. In a sense the article complements North’s “Paradox of the West” as it reveals theoretical assumptions of North’s approach. file size 240 KB,  12 pages.

Historiography of Science and Religion

2010, 2020. [in Polish]. The article shows the evolution of historians’ and sociologists’ views in the period 1874-2010 about the right way of describing the historical relationships between science and religion. The most important concepts were presented, which were milestones of this evolution: from the nineteenth century works of Draper and White, which showed these relations as a conflict lasting for centuries to the currently functioning paradigm, which recognizes religion as an important co-creative element of the modern science;  file size 490 KB, 32 pages.

Death Taboo: Why It Has Appeared, Why It Vanishes

2006. [in Polish]. Development, culmination and gradual declining of the death taboo are linked to the unique demographic situation of the West in XX century and its psychological effects At the root of the taboo of death lies a specific phenomenon that occurred in the first half of the 20th century. There was a great rise in life expectation of younger generations (+45%) and at the same time no improvement (only 3%) in this respect towards the elderly (2/3 of the population) and the “scientific” pessimism as to their future life extension, because scientists’ general opinion was that life expectancy of elders was close to the limit imposed by the biology. The elders saw that the young stopped dying but they had no chance for a longer life. The reaction to this highly frustrating message was the suppression of the topic of dying from the collective consciousness. Death became taboo.  Simultaneously the massive investments in health care sector started. The postponed effects of these expenditures brought such gains in the elderly life expectancy that death taboo as a defending measure against frustration started to weaken. See English abstract at the end of article.

Article based on the lecture given on the conference “Philosophy and Death” (Theology Dpt. Of Silesian University, Poland), March 2007. Abridged version published in: “Philosophy and Death”, Katowice 20.  file size 720 KB,  24 pages. English abstract at the end of the paper.

Russia – Our World’s Misfortune

2014, [in Polish]. file size 1,4 MB,  16 pages of text and 24 pages of statistics, maps, etc.

Russia is mighty and puny. Military sector is strong but stands on weak economic foundations. The economy is natural resources monoculture. Political culture as if moved from the Middle Ages. Leaders are like a band of psychopathic robbers but have nuclear button. They invade the neighbouring countries enjoying enthusiastic support of their serfs-citizens and even political opposition. Such a country („mafia-run gas station masquerading as a country” in McCain’s words) is a misfortune of the world. But we have to deal with it somehow. At the same time it must not be thought it is the normal country. Russian leaders feel the resentment and the sense of inferiority toward the West. Like majority of the society. That results in envy, hostility, aggression and the lust for reprisal.

The European Phenomenon: How Europe Surpassed Asia

2009. [in Polish]. Quantitative Approach, Problems Discussed, Controversies, and Literature
Article based on the lecture given on the conference “Language and Technology” (Philosophy Dpt. University of Lodz, Poland) in 2008

The European Phenomenon is a widely used term for the exceptional dynamics of European civilization in the second millennium against the other great civilizations. The article presents the quantitative approach to that phenomenon, problems discussed in World History literature concerning the European phenomenon and controversies over various theoretical propositions, including historical roots of the European high rate of innovation.

The article includes the presentation of the historical economic growth and population data to show the scale of the phenomenon. Next some major areas of theoretical discussion are presented. Any such selection is subjective but looking at the modern West we must agree that the great impact on its birth had the modern science, technology and capitalist economic system. The fourth element, the Christianity, was the all-embracing cultural environment in which the previously mentioned processes took place. And these four elements are presented at more length. See English abstract at the end of article; file size 530 KB,  27 pages, in Polish. English abstract at the end of the paper.

On Jean Delumeau’s book “Sin and Fear”

2008.  [in Polish]. Christianity of XIII – XVIII centuries were intensely instilling the sense of guilt and sin in their believers. But was it effective? Did it manage to frighten all or only the elites? The classic work of Jean Delumeau is a part of a wider discussion on the roots of our civilization and has been hotly debating since its publication. I present here a kind of sum up of that debate and some of my own reflections.  file size 130 KB,  7 pages.

The Paradox of the West by Douglass C. North  (English original)     Polish translation by Jacek Kwaśniewski

2013. [English original and Polish translation]. A central thesis of this chapter is that economic growth and the development of freedom are complementary processes of societal development. Economic growth provides the resources to support more complex societies; and it is unlikely to persist in the long run without the development of political and civil liberties. A world of specialization and division of labor–the roots of economic growth–is going to nurture democratic and individual freedoms; file size of Polish translation 300 KB, 24 pages.

Modern World and Mythical Experiencing Time

2006.  [in Polish].  Very common and seemingly self-evident expectation and desire to prolong our youth and to live as long as possible are, in fact, quite a new phenomenon. Their perception as immemorial phenomenon results from our modern way of experiencing time. Time has been converted into the mythical structure. Therefore, the seemingly self-evident desire to live as long as possible could be analysed in terms of myth and appropriate analytical tools might be applied. file size 190 KB, 6 pages.

Can Theory of Civilization Be a Science?

The Applicability of Imre Lakatos’ methodology in humanities. Lecture given to Polish Philosophical Society, Szczecin, December 2007

2007, 2010. [in Polish]. The humanities (at least some of them) can meet the criteria of scientific knowledge, formulated by Imre Lakatos in his methodology of scientific research programmes, one of the most distinguished theories of science. The paper presents the example of such an application. The author analyzes his own book on dynamics of Western civilization from the perspective of Lakatos’ methodology revealing the hard core of his theory, protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses, negative and positive heuristics, problem shifts, etc. to prove the progressive nature of his own research programme. See English abstract at the end of article.  file size 280KB,  10 pages.

Islam and Russia: Lost Civilizations?

2006. [in Polish]. Not the very modernization but the unique synchronization of two historic processes: of modernization and secularization brought about the unprecedented level of the economic, scientific and technological development of Europe since XII century. Other civilizations based on theocentric religions, Islam and Russia, also experienced both of these processes. In these cases however, the feedbacks between secularization and modernization had been proceeding very differently. The result is much lower level of modernization and the cultures what hinders to catch up with the West. file size 175 KB, 12 pages. English abstract at the end of the paper.

History of Technology – Basic Reading list

2014. [in Polish]. Reflections on the history of technology need to be based on some knowledge of factography at least. I present twelve books worth reading. Most of them are recommended in university courses of history of technology. Among the authors are Frances and Joseph Gies, James MacLachan, Ian McNeil, Lewis Mumford, Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, Daniel Headrick, James McClellan and Harold Dorn.  file size 126 KB,  6 pages

Christianity and the Modernization of the West

2008, [in Polish]. Christianity could be perceived as the modernization-oriented axiology which inculturation took place in the medieval Europe which turned out to be hospitable ecological and cultural milieu.

file size 330 KB, 6 pages

How to Study Religious Determinants of Western Civilization

2014, [in Polish]. Older version of information on my new book under the working title „The European Phenomenon and Christianity″.

The main theses of my book I’ve been working on for few years. Because the on-line version of the text enjoys some popularity (1100 downloads in 2013-2014), I’ve decided to put it also here; file size 130 KB, lenght of text – 4 pages


Philosophy and Theology


Prayer on Bergamot Islands

2015. [in Polish]. God could be surprised with that prayer and its aim. But, as I know Him, He’s amused. file 90KB, 3 pages. Not available yet

“Do Not Bring Us Into Temptation” Or “Dissuade Us From Temptation”?    2000 Years of Controversies over This Phrase in Lord’s Prayer

2005,2015, 2016, 2017. [in Polish]. Pope Francis’ decision to change the words of the sixth petition goes in exactly the same direction that was implemented in 1965 in the Polish translation, called Biblia Tysiąclecia (Bible of the Millennium), and a few years later in the work of the French Jesuit Jean Carmignac. In 2013, the French church introduced such a change to the sixth request.

In my text I describe the history of theological disputes since the 4th century and lively discussions on the proper translation of the sixth request in the 20th century; file size 390 KB, 21 pages

Life After Death 

2014. [in Polish]. 60% to 97% of Europeans believe to be Christians. Nearly 70% believe in some form of afterlife. How can we describe Christian world-after-life where people go after death? And to be in accord with the doctrine, mystics and NDEs visions?; file size 320 KB, 17 pages

Why I Like to Attend a Mass for Preschoolers

2006. [in Polish]. Because the preshoolers are the people interested in the world, not using any mental cliches and seriously searching for the answers. They are also the people who are not afraid to be wrong. file size 110 kB, 2 pages

Necessity of Evil. Proof by Contradiction. Supplement to Alvin Plantinga

2009, 2015. [in English]. The Christian tradition sees the evil as by-product of our free will. The problem is that this thesis could be simply rejected as it can be argued that there is no logical contradiction in the existence of beings who would act freely and always go right. All attempts to prove fallacy of that statement failed. My proof solves the problem. I assume that free beings can do only good. Next I show that this thesis results in contradiction. Therefore, the evil is unavoidable. file size 180 KB, 3 pages.

God’s Love. Information for atheists, agnostics and lukewarm believers

2013. [in Polish]. The paper is an attempt to formulate unemotional definition of God’s love to make this notion clear to everyone, also to non-believers. The chosen approach is to define God’s love by analogy to mother’s love. Her love is defined as a list of things lost together with her death. file size – 160KB, 5 pages

Theology of Divine Providence

2019. [in Polish].Why the Providence, who actively influences the world, with love, tolerates the evil? The classical version of theodicy is the answer to the question of why God permits evil. It is theological attempt at vindicating God, because evil seems inconsistent with the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity. My proposal includes one more element to be considered – Divine Providence. Governed by the Love, It actively interferes in the world and human affairs. But from the individual’s perspective Providence’s activity is often obviously improper. How to reconcile justice and holiness of God, not only with evil but also with these “arbitrary” interventions? English abstract at the end of the paper; file size 300 KB, 7 pages, text published in Tygiel Kultury, No 10-12 2009 and by on-line portal Katolik.pl

What is Evil? Why Do We do It?

2015. [in Polish]. When talking about evil, the audience invariably asks me a basic question: what is it and why does it exist? This text is meant to be a help in our conversations. It is not an encyclopedic review but my personal answer to this question. I want this text to be helpful not only in conversations but also in understanding the world around us;  file size 240 KB, 6 pages.

Scale Model of the Universe: to Comprehend Its Size and Age

2012. [in Polish]. Size and time of existence of the Universe – sextillions of kilometers and billions of years. To understand these numbers we need to have a scale model of Universe. The model should squeeze the Universe to the dimensions that could be understood, i.e. referred to some other things which are known, or psychologically tamed. The model should also enable us to understand the ratio of the size of Universe to the Earth size as well as the ratio of the Universe timespan to the timespan of the Earth, of our species and our civilization. Such a model will also help to understand the shock brought about by Scientific Revolution (XV-XVIII centuries) and is a real challenge to any modern Christian theology. file size 210 KB,  8 pages

Meaning of Life: Balance Between Values Or the Goal of Existence?

2009. [in Polish]. Two different ways how we can understand the meaning of life are discussed as well as their implications and mutual interrelations. First, the meaning of life is the balance between different values in our everyday life. Second, it is the ultimate goal of human existence. Both approaches can collide with each other as the first is morally neutral and the second is the typical norm maker. English abstract at the end of the paper.  file size 370 KB, 9 pages

What Is Postmodernism

author: Elisabeth Anderson, translation: Jacek Kwaśniewski. 2011.  Translation of the excerpts from the chapter “Feminist Postmodernism” in: Elisabeth Anderson, Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, in: Stanford Encyclipedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-epistemology  file size 180 KB, 4 pages


Others


Harmonious Society Versus Conflict-Ridden Society: Marxism and Liberalism

1988. [in English]. Co-author Jerzy Drygalski. Chapter from the book “A Critique of Marxist and Non-Marxist Thought” , Praeger Special Studies, 1988. The authors’ intention was to compare both doctrines: liberalism and marxism and to look at their practical realizations in real world as well as to reveal deep ties linking these ideas and their relevant political systems; file size 2,3 MB,  23 pages

How to Build Successful Capitalism in Third World Countries

2003. [in English]. Paper on ideas of Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto’s how to animate the so called dead capital in Third World countries. The challenge of economic development is not to facilitate a redistribution of the wealth from the First World to the Third World, but finding means of integrating the wealth that already exists in the Third World into the formal legal systems and thereby into the global economy at large. The wealth is already widely spread among the population but has extralegal status what seriously limits its use and development. Paper prepared in 2003 for the Iraqi Governing Council. One of my duties in Coalition Provisional Authority. file size 170 kB,  6 pages

“No-Choice Elections”

1990. [in English]. Co-author  Jerzy Drygalski. The detailed analysis of the electoral system in communist Poland in 1950-1979 period. The English version of the chapter from my and Jerzy Drygalski’s book “(Un)Real Socialism”. The article from Studies, April 1990. file size 2,5 MB,  21 pages

The Early Days of Polish Privatization 1989 – 1991: Professionals Vs Politicians 

2014. [in Polish]. My personal reminiscences. I was witness and participant of Polish privatization process working on governmental posts. The main creator of Polish privatization process as well as building Polish capital market was Krzysztof Lis. He was nominated by Mr Mazowiecki (Polish first post-communist Prime Minister) as the Government’s Plenipontientiary for Privatization. His responsibility encompassed the preparation of privatization and capital market law as well as carrying out first public offerings. Lis was classical professional who, from the very beginning, opposed Leszek Balcerowicz’s (deputy Prime Minister responsible for market re-orientation of Polish economy) pure political approach to privatization. Seemingly Lis lost the battle as Balcerowicz blocked his nomination for ministerial position. But Balcerowicz idea to make privatization very fast (through free voucher distribution) resulted in failure whereas Lis privatization methodology was applied succesfully for several years. file size 260 KB,  10 pages

Solidarity and the Communist Party. Dynamics of Polish Political Conflict 1980 – 1981

2012. [in Polish]. In the late eighties I wanted (with my friend Jerzy Drygalski) to write a book on dynamics of social and political conflict in 1980-1981 in Poland. Big wave of strikes in July-August 1980 resulted in the consent of communist rulers for establishing the independent trade unions under Walesa leadership. A year later communist rulers crushed Solidarity by introducing the martial law.

The main idea of the book was taken from our theory of suppression of free articulation as the fundamental precondition of surviving the communist rule (abstract of the theory see Harmonious Society vs Conflict-Ridden Society). Eventually the book was not completed because the communist rule collapsed and we immediately jumped into the process of making new Polish reality. I began to create with some of my friends the ministry of privatization, later prepare the privatization program for Poland state owned economy and finally work in the high ministerial positions. Jurek Drygalski was appointed to liquidate RUCH – the communist party organization supervising Polish press. He was well prepared for this job as the part of our joint PhD thesis was devoted to the analysis of suppression of free articulation in the press in communist Poland. Thirty years later we have been asked to deliver the lecture on our unfinished book. And this is what you can read here. Seminar paper for Collegium Civitas (Polish, Warsaw-based university). file size 355 kB, 17 pages

Putin Library

2015, 2018. [in Polish]. Short history of the world’s biggest online scientific library, Library Genesis. In 2012, after shutting up Gigapedia and Library.nu, two huge scientific literature online depositories (by a judgement of Munich court), their collections have been moved to Russia and absorbed by Library Genesis, project started in 2008 by Russian scientists. Since then Library Genesis size has grown significantly, from half a million books in 2012 to 5 million in 2019. SciHub, scientific articles repository, connected to Library Genesis, has got 94% of all digitized scientific articles in a world.

The essence of the poetry

2010. [in Polish]. The meeting with friends, writing occasionally the poems, encouraged me to try the same. Slightly ironic piece has emerged… The poem titled “The essence of poetry” has been published in cultural monthly Tygiel Kultury (Culture Melting Pot) 1-3 / 2010. The magazine has not survived up to now and I moved the poem to my server.

The autumn, guinea pig and other things. The poem for Maia

2018. [inPolish]. A little poem on autumn written for Maia and placed here on her request. Maia is its owner and can freely change the content. Every her recitation is correct.

Poglady No.18

2011. [inPolish]. In 1980-81 (during the explosion of Solidarity movement in communist Poland) me and my friends were publishing the three-weekly Solidarity magazine titled Poglądy (Views). During martial law, introduced by communists to destroy Polish island of freedom, some of us were imprisoned (including me), some emigrated. After 30 years we have decided to publish another issue of this magazine. Editorial team members were scattered around the globe since then but Internet is invaluable. Read and see how our views, previously nearly homogenous, have diverged since then.