Barbara Stanosz - philosopher and citizen


Barbara Stanosz, professor emeritus at the University of Warsaw, Poland, died on 7 June 2014. A philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition, Professor Stanosz wrote some excellent handbooks of formal logic and translated into Polish works by Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Carnap, Willard VO Quine, Richard B. Brandt, Daniel C. Dennett, Donald Davidson and other contemporary empiricists and philosophers of language.

Barbara Stanosz was widely published in the Polish quality media, most notably on church and state issues and the criticism of religion. She was a radical rationalist: a rationalist, in the sense of observing the rule that nothing deserves recognition without justification; and a radical because she held the view that no justification is possible beyond experience and logic.

She was also a naturalist, as she was firmly convinced that there is nothing apart from the natural world. And, of course, she was an atheist, as atheism is the logical product of naturalistic rationalism. And lastly, she was a liberal humanist, as she advocated free, fair and just society.

Barbara was not only an eminent university scholar – she was an outstanding citizen and a person. Her greatness lay in a way she put her ideas and ideals into practice of social life. She did it thoughtfully but with passion. When it turned out that Poland, after the fall of authoritarian socialism, faced the threat of equally authoritarian Catholicism, she was one who – with help from a few friends – voiced her concern. In the early nineties, she set up the periodical Without Dogma – the Polish equivalent of Free Inquiry or the New Humanist, and for the next 15 years was a co-chairperson of the Polish Humanist Federation – an NGO that represented all Polish secular organisations.

Her efforts were not limited to Poland and Polish problems. She organised several international conferences and attended many more in Europe and beyond. She was a member of the International Academy of Humanism and for the last ten years, since the formation of the CFI-Poland, the head of its advisory board.

Her contribution to logic, philosophy and secular humanism has been enormous, as has been the role she played in the lives of her friends.

Bohdan Chwedeńczuk and Andrzej Dominiczak

Towarzystwo Humanistyczne
Humanist Assciation

Free counter and web stats