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The Warsaw Voice » Society » July 29, 2009
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Philosopher Dies
July 29, 2009   
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Renowned Polish philosopher Leszek Kołakowski died July 17 at a hospital in Oxford, Britain, at the age of 82.

Born in 1927 in Radom, Kołakowski studied philosophy at the University of ŁódĽ and the University of Warsaw after World War II. For many years he was an ardent supporter and promoter of communism. He joined the Polish Workers' Party (PPR) in 1945 and then in 1947-1966 was a member of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). He worked at the Academic Staff Training Institute affiliated to the PZPR Central Committee. He headed the Faculty of Marxism-Leninism at the University of Warsaw until 1966. In the 1950s he began gradually to move away from the doctrinal version of Marx's philosophy. In 1966, he was dismissed as head of the faculty and expelled from the PZPR for his radical criticism of the authorities and for ceasing to teach students strictly in accordance with the official canon of Marxism. In 1968, following an anti-Semitic purge that the communist authorities carried out at Polish universities, he left the country. He worked at the McGill University in Canada (1968), then at the University of California in Berkeley (1969), and from 1970 until his retirement taught at Oxford's All Souls College.

Kołakowski published more than 400 works, including about 30 books. His most famous work is a three-volume critical analysis of Marxism, The Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth and Dissolution, from 1968-1976.
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